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FERPA and Privacy in Zoom

All meetings held in Zoom that include course content or student information are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as FERPA.*

It's important to be aware of steps you can take to protect student privacy when using Zoom.

When recording class sessions or meetings in Zoom:

  • Don't share recordings that include personally identifiable student information with anyone that is not enrolled in your course.
    • Consider recording an asynchronous lecture to share with all class sections.
    • If you plan to share a recording for educational use beyond your course, ensure student video is not visible on screen, students' mics are muted and the chat is hidden.
    • Include language in your syllabus about the purpose of Zoom recordings and the protection of student information. See the suggested language below.
  • Tell students that you will be recording in advance. By default, Zoom notifies meeting participants that a meeting is being recorded, but it is best to have an acknowledgment from you.
  • Allow students to turn off their camera and microphone using Stop Video and Mute in Zoom and participate via Chat if they prefer.
  • Zoom cloud recordings are available for 120 days, but you can export and save recordings. Learn more about Zoom cloud recordings.

Syllabus language

Include the following language in your syllabus:

This course may use video and audio recordings of class lectures, student presentations, and related materials. These recordings are available to all students presently enrolled in the course. Please note that you are not allowed to share these recordings. This is to protect your FERPA rights and those of your fellow students.

FAQs

Is a recorded lecture (audio or video) a protected student record?

If a recording includes only the instructor, it is not a student record and FERPA does not limit its use. If the recording includes students asking questions, making presentations or leading a class (other than TAs), and it is possible to identify the student, then the portions containing recordings of the student do constitute protected educational records. Educational records can only be used as permitted by FERPA or in a manner allowed by a written consent from the student.

May a recording that includes student participation be posted for other class members to view or listen to?

Yes. If access is limited to other students in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent its use and does not require obtaining a written consent. This allows instructors to create access for students in the class to watch or re-watch past class sessions.

Can an instructor allow individuals outside of a class to access a video of that class that includes student participation?

Maybe. There are several ways to use recordings that include student participation.

  • The instructor may obtain individualized FERPA consents from the students in the recording which allow use of that portion of the recordings. This type of consent can be obtained on a case-by-case basis or from all the students at the outset of a class.
  • Recordings can be edited to either omit any student who has not consented to the use of their voice or image, or be edited to de-identify the student in the recording (which can include avoiding or removing any mention of the student's name, blurring the student's image, altering voice recordings, etc.).
  • Recordings can also be planned so that students (such as those asking questions during a class) are not shown in the video or referred to by name (another way to de-identify the student).
  • What is the easiest way to comply with FERPA if I am video recording my class sessions and students will be asking questions, doing presentations, or appearing on camera?
  • If access is limited to other students in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent its use and does not require obtaining a written consent. This allows instructors to create access for students in the class to watch or re-watch past class sessions.
  • If access will not be limited to students in the class, plan the recordings accordingly. Make sure not to show students who are asking questions and don't refer to the students by name. Avoid repeating the student's name in the recording (de-identifying the students removes the need for a specific consent from each student depicted). If a student happens to appear on camera, their identity can be edited out or a written consent can be obtained.
  • Because student presentations make it more difficult to de-identify the student, the instructor should obtain a FERPA consent from the student making a presentation. For any video projects, such as student-made films, you should obtain a written consent.
  • Can the instructor show recordings from last year's class to the current class?
  • Under FERPA, this situation must be treated as if the recordings were being shown to a third-party audience which requires FERPA compliance through use of consents or de-identification of any students depicted.