Audio Recording and the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the COVID-19 pandemic, audio recording proved to be a valuable tool for ensuring that students and teachers were able to continue learning despite schools closing. Having access to audio can help administrators identify individuals involved in bullying incidents or student altercations, as well as potential threats.
Allow students to record themselves narrating their work for a self-assessment exercise. Revisiting these recordings is a great way to improve and correct their writing.
Capture and Archive Important Student Discussions and Lectures
Most students perceive that lecture capture positively affects their learning. In their written responses, most indicated that lecture recordings help them understand the content and to consolidate their notes. They also find it helpful to catch up on lectures that they missed and to fill in gaps in their notes.
Lecture capture is a form of supplemental instruction for in-class students and a replacement for classroom sessions for online students. To protect students’ privacy, it is essential that all students be made aware that class lectures are being recorded and that the recordings are for their personal use only. Students granted permission to audio record class lectures as an accommodation must agree to abide by these provisions and sign a pledge to that effect.
To encourage students to use podcasts, faculty can provide them with content-related questions and learning activities or a case study that builds upon the information presented in the recording. They can also make the podcasts available shortly after a lecture and immediately before an exam, as research indicates that students are more likely to download and use these resources.
Enhance Student Participation and Engagement
During the pandemic, when many schools closed and students went into quarantine, teachers found that they could make their in-person classes available via audio recordings. This helped to keep student engagement high and prevented them from missing important lectures.
When students listen to recorded lessons, they can discuss the information and ask questions. They can also laugh together at a joke or gasp in disbelief when something is presented, which turns the learning experience into a social one that will help them retain the material.
A recent court case in Maine has ruled that allowing students to record their interactions with teachers and other school staff members is protected by the First Amendment. This means that schools can’t restrict the use of such recordings absent the most compelling of justifications. However, using streamed media rather than downloaded files helps schools stay more squarely within fair use and copyright guidelines.
Enhance Security Measures
Many schools have implemented security cameras to help prevent and address issues such as bullying, student fights, or potential threats. Audio recording can provide an additional layer of security by enabling administrators to hear what is happening in the room even if they are not in the classroom.
This can be especially useful in an emergency situation such as a lockdown or active shooter incident. In these instances, school administrators can use the audio to identify individuals involved and take appropriate action.
However, school districts must ensure that any audio recordings used in the classroom do not violate students’ privacy rights. This requires careful consideration of state and federal laws that protect student privacy, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, schools must develop appropriate policies and communicate these with students to maintain transparency.
Protect Student Privacy
Students may not always appreciate school-issued recording devices, especially if they feel it violates their privacy. Regardless of how they perceive it, school administrators must make sure that recordings do not contain personal information or violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Additionally, some states have wiretap laws that can impact audio recording on campus. Some collective bargaining agreements restrict whether teachers can be recorded by students, and instructors often worry that they will be sued for allowing recordings in their classrooms.
To help ease concerns, many educators encourage students to sign recording agreements with them that detail the limited use of the recordings and arrange for their disposal once they’ve served their purpose. These agreements can also address student concerns and protect FERPA compliance.