October 2019 Grievance Corner

Student’s Right to Record Lectures

Students with disabilities that restrict their ability to take or read notes have the right to record class lectures as an accommodation.  You have the right to protect copyright and privacy when appropriate.

Instructor’s right to protect copyright

Your right to privacy or concerns about copyright do not override the student’s right to accommodation.  However, it is the responsibility of the Student Accommodation Office to ensure that you and the student have signed a detailed agreement addressing the limited use of the recordings and how those recordings will be disposed of once the purpose of the recordings has been exhausted.  A sample agreement will include the following:

  • A statement acknowledging that the recordings are for personal use only;
  • A statement acknowledging the lectures as recorded are the intellectual property of the Professor, and the comments of classmates are their own intellectual property;
  • An agreement not to share, copy or transfer the recordings for any purpose without consent and without giving proper identity and credit to the source;
  • An agreement with respect to how the recordings will be disposed of;
  • A statement acknowledging the consequences of breaching the agreement.


Instructor’s right to ensure a free sharing of ideas through self-disclosure of students

You may also be concerned that the use of a recording device in class will restrict the free sharing of student’s self-disclosure and reflection in the classroom.   This is a concern that should be addressed on a case by case basis.  If the discussion is relevant to core material and key learning outcomes that will be assessed for the final academic grade, then in general, the principles above would apply.  In the alternative,  as the purpose of the recording device is to replace the need to take notes, it may be reasonable to enforce a ban on both note taking and recording of these discussions, and invite the student to participate through skype if not present in the classroom.

You should always seek guidance and confirm any limitations on the accommodation by raising your concerns with the Student Accommodation Office and the QUFA Office.

QUFA is currently working to ensure an appropriate accommodation agreement is in use for Students seeking the right to tape record lectures.

We have also established a working committee to review questions and workload issues QUFA staff are facing with respect to the need to facilitate accommodations of students in the classroom.  If you have a story to tell, or a question  you would like answered, please contact Anya Hageman (hagemana@econ.queensu.ca) or Shane Shane Pinder (shane.pinder@queensu.ca)

Peggy Smith
QUFA Grievance Officer