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    Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    challenge posed by Andy Nash 354 days 10 hours 16 minutes ago

    Category: Education
    Challenge Forum

    Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Recording your professors’ lectures is nothing new. However technology in the past 10, if not 15 years has made it far too easy and discrete as virtually everyone can do so with their phones.
    One’s own academic reference when studying was always the benign reason for recording. But what if you believed your professor’s occasional or consistent commentary or behavior was inappropriate, or presentations lop-sided, or unprofessional in some way. Combine that with the school being public, the prof’s salary paid at least in part with public funds. You’d think there’d be a duty to present a balance of the facts in a fair-minded way, juxtaposing free speech and academic freedom with academic responsibility. There has been much politicization of academia and what some profs teach and how, in terms of what is shown as well as in terms of people’s reaction to it.

    Recently the famed James O’Keefe, a political activist on the Right, with his Project Veritas has been recruiting students to “go undercover” to record any number of lectures in various schools, to expose what certain so many profs are teaching & saying in class.

    Professors’ objections in the past to being recorded have typically rested on the notion that their lecture is THEIR intellectual property (an ironic claim for the ones who paraphrase straight from a text). Many have stipulated on their syllabus they require permission, or that they forbid it outright, while many others don’t care, especially with the ever-present technology today. One legit concern is that footage of them playing devil’s advocate with one side of an argument may be cherry-picked, while doing so with the other side may be omitted, all to suit a political axe to grind. But the fact many don’t is what appears to be motivating many to capture footage in the first place. Maybe the best defense for a prof is to put up the lecture in it’s entirety, making it viewable only to paying students enrolled in the class.

    Should you be able to record your professors? How about without asking permission, since it’s not a private conversation? Or should they be able to deny based on intellectual property? Isn’t sunlight the best disinfectant to show if a prof in a public university is really biased or just incorrect in his/her lectures? Look at it from both the students’ and profs’ perspectives, and for the many different motivations one may do so or would not want someone to do so.

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hi Andy Nash,


    Yes, people should be able to report professors because just like police officers, they are part of society and also in the safety end up bringing of young adults. You know what’s going on in the classroom so we know that learning environments are safe for our young adults.


    Although Students want to be with various reasons, the professor still has the ultimate decision because is there a lecture and their classroom. We should respect their words and lectures because they’re the one who has gone through many years of schooling, not us.

    With all this said, I believe that students should be able to record lectures, as long as they are open about it and don’t try to hide it. A professor can’t deny students the right to record if they believe it is okay to do so, just as a civilian has a right to record a police officer.

    The professor should have a right to know they will be recorded beforehand as well. Unlike police officers, professors are not trained in the same type of conduct and even though professors take an authoritative position, they still act as civilians and have a right to know when they are on camera.

    Thanks for the great forum!


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hey Andy!

    I think students should be allowed to record their professors lectures. After all, the student is paying the money to the institution for their education and I believe that includes having access to lecture material if they choose to. That being said, they should get permission first to record as I'm pretty sure it's illegal to record someone without their knowledge or consent.



    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hello Andy!

    I have some teachers who explicitly state that we cannot record their lectures. Others never mention, and I know some that I have friends ask if they can and they record their lectures. I even know some students who don't even ask and just record it. It's not very obvious, especially with a cell phone, if it's recording. The people I know who do this, use the recording as study supplement. They go back and listen to it while going through the note and slides and add more information down that they could't catch during the class. I think that that is a very positive effect. Students are putting in more work and are essentially going to class twice. They get more information out of a lecture now as when they go back through it they are more fail air and can identify their weaknesses and relisten and write down all they need to without feeling rushed for time.

    I myself have never recorded a lecture. I am a quick writer so I'm able to get everything down that I want while in class but I know some students who don't write as fast struggle trying to get the info they need. being able to record and go back and listen to the lecture could really help them.

    I do understand, though, that it is the professors intellectual property, but I can tell you that out of my 4 classes this last quarter, 3 of them were just structured forms of the book. The notes came directly from the textbook and for two of my professors. the textbook company even provided the supplementary speaking notes as well as pre-made the slide shows for each chapter. One teacher directly told us not to worry about taking notes in class because her slides just came from the text book, she just reorganized them because she didn't like the way the book ordered things. So if I did choose to record these lectures, I just would have been recording audio interpretations of my textbooks. Honestly, that could probably aid my studying. It doesn't seem so intellectual when you break down the material this way and show that it's just coming from the book. It doesn't seem so exclusive to the professor.

    There are many pros and cons to this argument, and though I do think it would be beneficial to all students, I think it would ultimately come down to the teacher. They are the one being recorded and their opinions and lectures are their property, even if it's just coming from a textbook. Hopefully those who are against recording it loosen up and see it that way and see the benefits.


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hi Andy,

    It is an interested subject of debate, and it something I have always wondered and been semi frustrated about. Although it seems like a benign thing to do, it could also cost the professor their job if the recording are used out of context. For example, if a student was frustrated with the judgment or character of the professor, the student could potentially black mail the professor.

    Not only is the deterrent of the the student recording situation caused by potential black mail, but also out of the possibility of plagiarism. I think the worry with student recording also stems from the abundant opportunity to copy the teachers work and research through plagiarism.

    Although there is much potential for negative things to happen. I think that there would be more positive than negative, and I think that the universities should give students the benefit of the doubt. The reason that it would be good is because, not all student have a fast enough hand to jot down all the important information that the professors reveal throughout the time of the lectures. It is difficult enough trying to determine what is noteworthy and what is not, so if you miss something that was noteworthy but didnt write it down, you are potentially going to miss that information when it is most important.

    I believe that we ultimately should be allowed to record our professors, and that it would benefit the students greatly.

    Thanks for reading,

    ~RIley G. O'Brien

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Howdy Andy Nash,

    I think you should be able to record your professor just not to be able to make that information public. It is up to the professor whether or not they want their intellectual property to be public or not. Paying for the course I believe makes it so the professor allows you to have that intellectual property, if the professors denies being recorded I would want my money back.

    If you are recording a professor for misconduct that is an area I think becomes a bit iffy. I think the better route is to tell a supervisor first.

    Thanks for Reading,


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Happy -almost- New Year!

    Recording profs these days is easier than ever, thanks to rapidly advancing technology. Technology is a tool that can be used for good or bad, but is usually used for good. Therefore the cameras and mics in our phones are overall a benefit to the world, but they can be abused as well as used.

    In a perfect world, nobody would abuse the ability to record profs. The only reason to record a lecture would be for your learning, or to help someone inn the class who couldn't make it (ex. for an emergency). But, as we all know, we don't live in a perfect world. So the question becomes, "Do the benefits outweigh the costs"?

    I think, overall, recording lectures is beneficial. Recording lectures lets students learn better, which is the entire purpose of schools in the first place. When a student records a lecture, it's not as if they instantly get better grades. They still have to go back, and listen to the lecture again, and study. So, it encourages more studying. Also, when most of the class is caught up, and knows what's going on, the whole class goes by much smoother, than when almost everyone has no idea what the prof is teaching about.

    The negatives are ugly, but I think students will use the privilege of recording for more good than harm. Yes, students can share the recordings with others not in the class. Yes, students can nit-pick without context and paint a false picture. And yes, students can even abuse this privilege in ways we have yet to think of. However, the benefits of: improved education, attention to bias, and awareness for inappropriate behavior are more important, and will be used more.

    If you can find a way to make recording allowed, but not, that'd be perfect. But in real life, it'd be impossible. The policy could still be in place, but the enforcement would be very difficult.

    ↢ Night Owl Omar ↣

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?


    I think all professors should be allowed to be recorded but should also be allowed to make rules about recordings. For example, a professor should be able to insist on recordings of an entire lecture instead of a part. Professors should be able to place specific limits and requirements for recording but should not be able to prevent recording altogether. Protection of student's education and safety trumps "intellectual property" arguments in my opinion.


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hello Andy!

    This is a very interesting topic! I do feel that lectures are the intellectual property of the professors. They do work very hard to compile this information and put together lessons. However, many students are varying ways of studying and learning. Some students would prefer to record their professors lectures so that they can go back later and revisit the lecture information when studying. However, I can see that the argument that some student may try to sell the lectures to other students or possibly post them online. Students pay to be in these lectures and take these courses...they are really doing a disservice by either try to sell the lectures or post them online.

    I do think that students should be able to record lectures mainly for the purple of studying and revisiting course material. Some people have a very hard time remembering what was discussed in class, but if they can record the lecture, they can then get that information at a later date.

    Students have the right to get the best possible education...and if recording something to help them learn through whatever method works for them should be tolerated and cheered for. Any student taking the initiative to improve their education should be allowed.

    Thanks for listening!


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?


    I feel a few things in regards to this topic. I feel as though as students we give the professors a job by signing up for their class(es), it should be labeled in their syllabus if they do allow recording, as well as many times the professors boss might want some sort of proof to support our "word" if there were some weird situation come up in the classroom.

    I feel as though as students, professors need a certain amount of students to sign up for their classes to hold a job. In my opinion, things that a student thinks about when signing up for a professors class includes when the class is offered, how their reviews are on, and if the textbook is required. Those were some of the things that I take into consideration. It is helpful when the professor publishes the textbook for free on their course (canvas) or supplies them to the modules.

    Additionally, if a recording is prohibited it should be outlined in their syllabi. This implies that a professor is on guard to being taken up on being recording for educational lecture purposes.

    Lastly, many times the professors next chain of command is the dean of that department. As a student, if we file a report we will need to typically support our findings with a police report, another student's word, or actual evidence from ourselves or an authority.

    Hope this answers your discussion for today!

    Have a great day!

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hi Andy,

    As someone who is pursuing a career in teaching, I feel that I can answer this question as a student and as a future teacher. It is my belief that students should be able to record their teachers/professors. I do all of my schooling online so lectures are recorded anyway, so why should a live classroom be any different?

    One premise of being a teacher is understanding that each person has a different style of learning, and finding an appropriate teaching style to get the subject matter across to everyone. As a student, if I wanted to record the lecture to help with studying, would love to have access to the lecture again.

    There is also the student's argument about the quality of their education, as briefly mentioned in the article you linked. When I started my undergraduate studies about 10 years ago, I took a course that had a fill-in professor. This temporary professor didn't know how to teach the subject matter and formulated exams on concepts that were NEVER discussed during the lectures. I think the average grade at the end of the term was a C. I would have loved the opportunity to record his lectures only to dispute my grade in the class. That was a big ding on my GPA and if I could have proved that the material wasn't being taught effectively, I might have ended up with a higher GPA.

    Now, from a teacher's standpoint, I don't really care about intellectual property. I know some professors have worked hard to create courses that are specific with their skill set, but there are still rules given by the university or college that the professor needs to abide by. If they are concerned about intellectual property being stolen, then they can create a rule or a technological platform to ensure that the lectures are only used for studying purposes.

    I know that if my students wanted to record me, I would happily oblige. I would hope that they would use it to further their education. I also would never teach anything inappropriate or untrue, so I wouldn't worry about the recordings being used as blackmail. And, if students were recording me because they felt I was boring, I would love to use those recordings as constructive criticism to improve my teaching styles.


    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hi, I feel that in a classroom setting during a course lecture then yes students should be able to record their professor. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the note taking and it would help to be able to catch something that you might have missed. As for the biased teaching, then yes I feel it doesn't hurt to record the professors when they are trying to unfairly slam one side over the other. Students have recorded issues where the teachers were doing exactly this and it is not good, because they should be remaining impartial as much as possible. As for James O' Keefe, I liked his undercover work on the Acorn investigation, but I felt he was unethical with the Washington Post story.

    - W

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?


    Yes, I think the student should have the right to record their professors, after all we are paying all this money for our education. We should have access to the learning material in all even what the professor says in class. It's the major part of our payment so we should get access to it in full.

    Have a great day!

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    I think it would be a good idea to let students record professors. It would allow students to catch up on their notes in case they missed something (which is a very common problem in college) and it would ensure that the professor takes their job seriously. There are , however, 2 downsides I see right now: professors that use unconventional but effective methods of teaching may be afraid to teach now that the public may criticize them, or students may skip class to watch others' videos.

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?


    It's actually not illegal to record someone in a public space. You can take photo, video, or audio recordings of anything that's meant to be public (like a lecture). The gray areas come in with things like private conversations in public places. So if you happen to record a whispered conversation between two nearby classmates, that could be illegal.

    There's nothing illegal about recording your professor's lecture without their knowledge or permission, even if it does seem a bit cringy. Recording a conversation held in office hours, however, would have questionable legality. It varies from state to state.

    Hope that helps!

    - Meg

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    I think it is the responsibility of the student to ask the professor if they are comfortable being recorded.

    I had professors who claim their powerpoints and lectures are intellectual property and refused to share either. This made the courses challenging to both listen to the lecture and ensure my notes were thorough to support digesting the material. This course was also a rushed 4 week course, 5 hours a day about the anatomy and psychology of dysphasia and other swallowing disorders.

    It was extremely difficult to maintain my brain power for such a long duration. If I had access to the slides and lecture recording, I know the course would've been more beneficial to my studying and knowledge of the material. For this course, it wasn't about knowing the material for the test, this is my career and I have to really understand and recall the information for practical life cases.

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Hello Andy!

    I think recording one's professors during a lecture is well within a student's rights. That being said, I think it's common curtosy to ask before recording anyone. If a professor explicitly asks not to be recorded, then a student should respect that boundary. The only exception to this that I can imagine is if the professor is acting inappropriately in class and should be recorded without permission as evidence.

    Thank you for the topic!

    - Anna

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    Absolutely. Some students with special needs (and even some of those without) really need to be able to access that information without having to worry about their handwriting or their speed. They might miss something. Isn't the whole idea supposed to be to learn the material? How can it be intellectual material if they are being paid by the students' tuition? Does it not then belong to the students if they paid for it?

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    I can see both sides. I would definitely clear it with the professor first. I know when I was in college and would try to write my notes, I would try to write down everything that was being discussed and would get behind. It would have been nice to record the lecture and fill in your notes later, especially if the professor didn’t use a PowerPoint or anything.

    Re: Should You be Allowed to Record Your Professors?

    School is hard!

    I think any tool that can help a student absorb the material better is beneficial.

    Some students are slower perhaps in note taking and would really benefit from hearing the lecture a second or third time. It's easy to miss things especially within an hour and a half length of talking.

    I also don't see how prohibiting recording devices would be enforced. Everything from a phone, laptop, even the smart pens have recording capabilities. And if these tools are helping students pass, why would you restrict them?