Classroom Recordings

Audio or Visual Recordings in the Classroom

Under certain circumstances, a student with a disability may be approved for a classroom accommodation that involves audio recording or visual photographs. Access to recordings of lectures or photographs of information written or projected on the board provides equal access to this student.

Students who have been approved for this accommodation sign an agreement with DSP, acknowledging their understanding that the recorded/photographed information is strictly for their personal use in the course, and is not to be shared with other individuals. Students also acknowledge that course lectures and materials are the protected intellectual property of the professor, and the student could be subject to disciplinary action for violating those rights and the signed agreement.

Limitations of this accommodation exist if recording or photographing would fundamentally alter the nature of the learning environment or the overall course.  Faculty who have questions about this accommodation in their course are invited to contact DSP to discuss reasonable alternative accommodations the faculty might provide the student.

Instructors have the right to direct the student to cease recording during portions of the class that involve personal reflection, self-disclosure, or confidential discussions.


From the Office of Civil Rights:

Q: What if an instructor objects to the use of an auxiliary or personal aid?
A: Sometimes postsecondary instructors may not be familiar with Section 504 or ADA requirements regarding the use of an auxiliary or personal aid in their classrooms. Most often, questions arise when a student uses a tape recorder. College teachers may believe recording lectures is an infringement upon their own or other students’ academic freedom, or constitutes copyright violation.

The instructor may not forbid a student’s use of an aid if that prohibition limits the student’s participation in the school program. The Section 504 regulation states:

A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or of dog guides in campus buildings, that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient’s education program or activity.

In order to allow a student with a disability the use of an effective aid and, at the same time, protect the instructor, the institution may require the student to sign an agreement so as not to infringe on a potential copyright or to limit freedom of speech.