There are a number of state and federal laws that impact the recording of students during online synchronous sessions. Laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, the New York State Wiretapping Law, the pending New York State Privacy Act, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, and additional state privacy and eavesdropping laws. These national and international regulations provide penalties for the surreptitious recording of private conversations and electronic communications.

To address these legal requirements, and to protect the privacy of our online students, Hamilton College has created these guidelines and procedures.


  1. Statement to Inform Students of Recording
    To avoid any regulatory penalties, students should be notified that they may be recorded during course activities. Instructors should include a statement (on Blackboard, in a revised syllabus), similar to the sample below, where it is explicitly stated that by continuing to be enrolled in your course students agree that they will not share video or other recorded materials with anyone outside of the course and that doing so will be considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
    Online instruction will be conducted via Zoom classes, with your participation, at the regular course time. In order to ensure academic privacy for you and your fellow students, you may NOT share any recordings of online classes with anyone outside of the class. Violations of this will have serious consequences subject to the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. Block Video Downloads by Students
    To limit the circulation of recordings of students (e.g. recorded synchronous sessions, student presentation) beyond the classroom, students’ ability to download video recordings will be restricted within Zoom. All Zoom cloud recording configuration settings for Hamilton College are set to prevent students from downloading. This will not impact students’ ability to view the recordings when the students have an internet connection. Faculty will retain the ability to download their cloud recordings.
  3. Consent from Students
    When an instructor starts a recording session in a synchronous Zoom classroom, all students will be automatically prompted with a Zoom dialogue box that a video recording has been initiated. Students will have the ability to leave the session if they object to the recording. Faculty should be aware of this and provide an audio-only option to accommodate these students. The students will be presented with the following text in dialogue box:
    This meeting is being recorded.
    By continuing to be in the meeting you are consenting to being recorded.
    Leave Meeting     |     Continue
  4. Recording Guidelines for Faculty
    Faculty are asked to follow the following guidelines regarding recording students in online classes:
    • Only store recordings on Hamilton College-approved systems that restrict access to class members. This includes Blackboard, cloud storage within Zoom and with Hamilton College managed Google Drive, and other approved systems according to Hamilton’s Data Classification Policy.
    • Inform students that recordings will only be available to members of that class and that all recordings will be unavailable to students in the class when the Spring 2020 semester concludes.
    • Inform students that video recordings cannot be downloaded and can only be viewed when the student has an internet connection.
    • Request that students share any concerns they may have about being recorded privately with the instructor prior to the first recording (e.g. the first synchronous session) and provide an option for students who request not to be recorded to participate via audio-only.

Statement to Students on Recording

Included on:
Off Campus Study Resources: Virtual Course Environments
Zoom for Students

As Hamilton College moves to online instruction for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, software may be used to record class discussions. As a student in these classes, your participation in live class discussions may be recorded. These recordings will be made available only to students enrolled in the class, to assist those who cannot attend the live session or to serve as a resource for those who would like to review content that was presented. All recordings will become unavailable to students in the class when the current semester ends. Students who prefer to participate via audio only will be allowed to disable their video camera so only audio will be captured. Please discuss this option with your instructor.

The use of all video recordings will be in keeping with the following Hamilton College Privacy Statement:

Assuring privacy among faculty and students engaged in online and face-to-face instructional activities helps promote open and robust conversations and mitigates concerns that comments made within the context of the class will be shared beyond the classroom. As such, recordings of instructional activities occurring in online or face-to-face classes may be used solely for internal class purposes by the faculty member and students registered for the course, and only during the period in which the course is offered. Instructors who wish to make subsequent use of recordings that include student activity may do so only with informed written consent of the students involved or if all student activity is removed from the recording. Recordings including student activity that have been initiated by the instructor may be retained by the instructor only for individual use.

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