Camera Recommendations

The following recommendations will cover practices for making and using instructional video and audio recordings with students, along with best practices around recording class sessions and asking students to use a camera during live class sessions. The appendix includes templates you may wish to use.

Instructors sometimes record live class sessions so that students can watch a missed class session or review an earlier session, in order to comply with an authorized DSP&S accommodation, or for the instructor to share with a future class. Depending on who is identifiable in the recording, the recordings may constitute educational records that are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The following provides various scenarios and approaches to ensure compliance with FERPA when recording live class session.

Additional information about photos, video, and audio recording under FERPA can be found in the US Department of Education FAQs on Photos and Videos under FERPA. California Chancellor’s Office Legal Opinion 2012-12 was sent out on October 19th to clarify the requirement of camera use.

This document refers to live class sessions as a broad term recognizing both methods asynchronous (no set required meeting times) or synchronous (required/regular set meeting times) using multiple online conferencing platforms such as ConferZoom, Pronto, and Microsoft Teams.

Contact your campus DSP&S Department for any specific student accommodation requests or support

Send questions and inquiries regarding these recommendations to the Online Learning Pathways Instructional Design Supervisor, Liesl Boswell (

Camera Recommendations and Best Practices:
Presented by Chris Rodgers and Peter tea for the SDCCD De Summit Week

1.    I don’t record classes when I teach on-campus. Do I need to record live class sessions?

As a general rule, no, you don’t need to record live class sessions, unless complying with an authorized DSP&S accommodation. Your department or your external accrediting body might have established new requirements during times when classes can’t be offered on-campus. However, there is no requirement that you must record live class sessions.

2.     If I want to hold synchronous sessions with students, do I have to use ConferZoom?

Instructors are not required to use ConferZoom. However, it is free for California Community College staff and students. SDCCD Staff and instructors can sign up for free Pro ConferZoom Licenses by registering on the CCC ConferZoom Portal. It is based on the commercial product Zoom, which is the most widely used web conferencing tool in the US. Another option is Microsoft Teams; for information on this tool, please contact the IT Helpdesk.

3.     Are video or audio recordings of lectures protected student records?

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, 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.

4.    If I want to share my class recordings that don't include student interactions, what steps should I take?


Before you schedule your meetings ConferZoom:

1.     Go to and log into your ConferZoom account

2.     Click on My Account in the upper right

3.     In the far left column, select Settings

4.     Select the Recording tab and choose the following settings:

5.     Disable Local Recording. For most instructors, recordings should be kept in the cloud and not downloaded to a local computer.

6.     To have a video of the speaker recorded during screen sharing, enable Record active speaker with shared screen

7.     Disable Record gallery view with shared screen

8.     Disable Display participants’ names in the recording

9.     Enable Multiple audio notifications of recorded meeting, which plays an automated message whenever a recording is started, or a participant enters a session that is already being recorded.

When your meeting starts, keep your Zoom view set to Speaker View (as opposed to Gallery View). This ensures that only the person who is speaking appears on the screen, as opposed to recording a grid view of all attendees with webcams enabled. You can also pin specific meeting participants, such as Sign Language Interpreters, by tapping Manage Participants on the Zoom Room Controller. Tap the Host or Participant's name > tap Pin or Spotlight Video.

5.    If I want to share my class recordings that include student interactions, what steps do I take?

Before you schedule your meetings in ConferZoom:

1.     Change the Recording option to the following settings:

a.     Disable Local Recording. For most instructors, recordings should be kept in the cloud and not downloaded to a local computer.

2.     Before the live class meeting begins, provide privacy options to students before initiating the recording, including

a.     Change screen name

b.     Mute video

c.     Use chat

3.     At the beginning of each class, instructors can present a PowerPoint slide with a statement to alert students of recording: “This online class will be recorded. If you speak during class, you will be recorded. If you want to participate anonymously, please do these things: Change screen name, Mute video, Use chat.”

4.     After recording the class, each recording needs to be hosted behind a password-protected login such as the Canvas LMS.

5.     Share a class recording only with students who are currently enrolled in the class of the recording.

6.     Do not share the recording with another class unless you have signed waivers from each student who is identifiable in the recordings. See Appendix 1.

7.     Share a disclaimer with your students in your syllabus, announcements, and at the beginning of synchronous class meetings. See Appendix 2.

6.     What happens once I record a session?

As the meeting host, you decide when to record a session. Once you record a session, an archived session is created. As of Fall 2020, the archive is hosted by CCC TechConnect. You receive a link to the archive session. You decide whether to share the link or not.

If you choose to download the recording of your session, you can then share the recording on other video platforms like 3CMedia, YouTube, or Canvas Studio. 

7.     how should i host my recorded lectures/course content?

Instructors are not required to record and host all content through the ConferZoom Cloud, however, all recorded content must be hosted behind a password-protected login such as the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Lectures recorded to the Zoom Cloud will be accessible through the Conferzoom Website and can be shared directly with students with a password protected sharable URL link
  • YouTube can also be used to host videos although we recommend that videos are unlisted and shareable links to these videos be shared via email or through Canvas announcements.
  • Video files can be uploaded to Canvas Studio where they can be shared and be made accessible to students through Canvas.

Faculty are highly encouraged to use the District supported Learning Management System (LMS). Using the District LMS provides numerous benefits for students and faculty that are challenging to provide with an unsupported system such as student/faculty helpdesk support, authentication, information security, demonstrating regular and substantive interactions, and embedded student support services.

8.    When should students turn on their video?

students should have the flexibility to control their camera settings. When possible, turn the option for Participant cameras to Off to allow students to opt into sharing their video. The California Chancellor’s Office Legal Opinion 2012-12 was sent out on October 19th to clarify the requirement of camera use.

9.    What if my course activities require student presentations or recordings?

Some courses require students to perform certain activities or demonstrate skills in order to meet course objectives.This should be reflected in the course outline of record. Examples might include COMS 103: Oral Communication or AMSL 214: Fingerspelled Signs. In these cases, instructors should strive to disclose to students what will be required before the start of class. This should occur via the printed comments in the schedule of classes, a department or instructor website, and be included in the syllabi.

10.    When is it recommended for students to have cameras on during my recordings?

Never, unless it is used for instructional purposes.

11.    Should I require students to turn on their cameras during a live class session?

Only for an instructional purpose and even then, it may be problematic for several reasons. Students might not have a webcam and owning a webcam was not a condition for them to register for your course.

  • Students might not want to show where they are located. If a student is in between homes or homeless, and you force them to reveal this to class, this might negatively impact their motivation and the way the rest of the class perceives them. (A 2019 survey of California Community College students found that 60% were housing insecure in the previous year, and 19% were homeless in the previous year. And this was before the pandemic!)
  • Students might be living with minors or others who are not able to provide informed consent to being viewed or recorded by others.
  • Students might have a disability that they do not wish to display. In fact, they might have chosen a distance education class specifically because of the enhanced level of privacy it could provide.
  • Students may struggle with watching and viewing themselves during meetings and being forced to stare at themselves have reported that cameras being on can be a triggering experience."

For more on the potential negative impacts of cameras in class, and ideas for alternative ways to engage students, see: Karen Costa, “Cameras Be Damned.”

12.    Can I publicly share a screen capture of a live class session or recording that shows one or more identifiable students?

You should share a screen capture or recording of students only when each who will be recorded consent has been granted in order to maintain compliance with FERPA. Likewise, we encourage you to model informed consent with your students by informing them when you are recording or taking a screen capture. In short, we discourage you from taking or sharing screenshots of students.

13.    Can students record a live class session or share that recording publicly?

No. Instructors should tell students that they may not record any class sessions. Students who  violate this  may be subject to the student code of conduct for disrupting class, and breach of FERPA policies, especially if this is included in the syllabus. It’s more likely that students will respect your instructions in this regard if you model informed consent before recording them or requiring them to turn on their cameras.

However, students with disabilities may record the class if they have provided you with their authorized accommodation letter from DSP&S. Students with this accommodation must comply with the following: Students may not record (audio or video) in this class except in accordance with ADA accommodations. Any recordings made in connection with a disability accommodation are for the student’s personal academic use only and may not be distributed in any manner to any other individual. Contact the DSP&S office on your campus should you have additional questions.

14.    Can I show recordings from last year’s class to the current class?

Under FERPA, this situation should be treated as if the recordings were being shown to a third-party audience, which requires FERPA compliance through use of consents from identifiable students or by editing out those students from the video.

15.    If I want to allow access to a video showing students participating to others outside of the class, is this permitted?

Possibly. There are a couple of ways to use recordings that show students participating.

  1. The instructor may obtain individualized written FERPA consent from each student shown in the recording. This type of consent can be obtained on a case-by-case basis or from all students at the outset of a class. (See Appendix 1.)
  2. Recordings can be edited to remove portions of the video that show students who have not consented to the use of their voice and/or image. Note that simply blurring a student’s image and removing their name is not sufficient, as the student may still be identified.

16.    What is the easiest way to comply with FERPA if I am recording my class sessions, students will be asking questions and/or/doing presentations, and I wish to share the recording with a future class?

This method does require communication and flexibility from students and instructors. Setting additional parameters to comply with FERPA may hinder the instructional experience.

  • Overall, plan your live class session as carefully as you plan your face-to-face classes.
  • Record only the parts of your session that show you. Plan to hold specific Q&A periods during the session and when you get to one, click Pause recording.
  • When you are ready to present again, Resume recording.
  • Don’t refer to students by name (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 written consent can be obtained.
  • Videos of students giving presentations and student-generated video projects are covered by FERPA and copyright (students own the copyright of their work, just as any other author/creator). Therefore, written permission to use these digital works must be obtained from the student.

17.    How do I obtain written consent from a student?

To obtain written FERPA consent from a students or students for instructional video recordings, see Appendix 1 below. Please retain the consent form so long as you intend to use the recording.
A copy of a Canvas Assignment containing the student FERPA consent form is available for use in the Canvas Commons.

18.    How do I accommodate students with disabilities who need to view a recording of class with captions?

Plan your class session so that you are recording only the parts of class that show you or your instructional material.

Also, note that not all live class sessions, e.g., via ConferZoom, need to be captioned. The state Chancellor’s Office clarified responsibilities for meeting the needs of students with disabilities in Memorandum ES 20-16. Live class sessions need to be captioned when a student is present who has an Authorized Academic Accommodations letter developed with DSP&S identifying captions as an authorized  accommodation.

A reminder that Section 508 requires that all pre-recorded videos need to be captioned in order to make them accessible to all students. For questions about how to support students with disabilities, contact your campus DSP&S department.

19.   What are some teaching tips when using ConferZoom?

You can see our FAQs for teaching with ConferZoom.

Adapted from Guidance for Recording Class Sessions with TechConnect (Confer Zoom) by Michelle Pacansky-Brock and CVC, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Further resources and recorded Workshops from Online Learning Pathways Website.


Appendix A: Permission to reuse – Online course recordings Consent Form

Student Name                                                                       ID#                            

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates the disclosure of educational information. To protect student privacy, FERPA generally requires written consent before disclosing protected student information. FERPA states “when a student becomes an eligible student (18 years of age or is attending an institution of postsecondary education), the rights accorded to, and consent required of, parents under [FERPA] transfer from the parents to the student.”

I understand that my instructor will record our synchronous online sessions for myself and other students to view at a later time, which may implicate my FERPA rights. I understand the instructor will notify the students when a session is being recorded.

BY SIGNING THIS FORM, I waive my FERPA rights for the instructor to use the recording for instructional use within the educational setting, including without limitation my voice, my likeness, my name, questions I ask and answers I provide, and any other information that is recorded during the course session. I understand that it is my responsibility to limit any such information, including personally identifiable information, if I do not wish to disclose it while the course session is being recorded.

Student Signature                                                                             Date                           


To rescind the Release of Information, contact your instructor.

Keep Consent forms for as long as they will be using that video.
A copy of this Consent Form as a Canvas Assignment is available to be imported/downloaded via Canvas Commons.

Appendix B: Syllabus Example

Student Privacy and Intellectual Property:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA) mandates the protection of student information, including contact information, grades, and graded assignments. I will use Canvas to communicate with you, and I will not post grades or leave graded assignments in public places. 

This class has online meetings using ConferZoom. Our class meetings will be recorded. I will share the video recordings only with students in this class. When you attend the online class meetings, you give me permission to record your image and/or voice in the recording. If you do not want your image and/or voice in the recording, you can change your public name, and/or turn off your camera. Also, you are not required to attend the online class meetings. You can watch the recordings at a later time.

If you want to attend our online class meetings, but you also want to protect your identity, ConferZoom has some options. You can turn off your camera, rename your meeting name, and type in the chat box.

Students will be notified at the time of an assignment if copies of student work will be retained beyond the end of the semester or used as examples for future students or the wider public. Students maintain intellectual property rights to work products they create as part of this course unless they are formally notified otherwise.