Magazine article University Business

Lecture Capture: Privacy Please: Colleges Work to Create Policies and Guidelines for Instructors

Magazine article University Business

Lecture Capture: Privacy Please: Colleges Work to Create Policies and Guidelines for Instructors

Article excerpt

While the benefits of lecture capture and the flipped classroom model have caught widespread attention in higher ed, it is crucial to note its risks--particularly in the area of privacy and copyright violations.

FERPA noncompliance can result in the loss of federal funding, while copyright infringement could lead to cosdy civil or even criminal penalties. Recorded lectures released to the public could bring unwanted attention to a school--as in the February case of a guest speaker at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, whose lecture was picked up by conservative media and called "anti-Republican." Close to 90 percent of private universities cited lecture capture as an important part of their campus plans in a 2013 survey by The Campus Computing Project, up from about 72 percent in 2010.

And yet, many colleges and universities using the technology have still not formulated clear guidelines and policies for handling privacy issues. With so much at stake, and with the capabilities and ubiquity of the technology expanding rapidly, it's more important than ever for institutional leaders to take a serious look at the issue.

Following are six best practices that can help protect your institution against privacy violations.

1. Make guidelines and policies apply to all.

Because much of the responsibility for enforcing privacy policy rests with individual faculty members, having clear, campuswide standards in place can help ensure across-the-board compliance.

At Brigham Young University-Idaho, lecture capture guidelines concerning copyright and privacy concerns--including sample consent form templates--were developed, distributed directly to the entire campus community and also made widely available online. The process took about three months, says Nate Wise, the university's digital content/intellectual property specialist, who was tasked by the academic vice president with creating the guidelines. He collaborated with an academic technology IT coordinator and BYU's Office of General Counsel.

In several cases--such as at Saint Louis University--privacy guidelines are set and distributed by IT. Faculty, students and others with questions are referred to the institutions general counsel and the library for further information on copyright and fair use.

2. Decide who owns the content.

An extension of the privacy issue relates to content ownership. If the university owns the recording, for instance, it may be able to distribute that material at will, without the faculty member's knowledge or permission.

But in many, if not most, cases, intellectual property rights fall to the faculty member, who decides whether to distribute the lecture to the public (provided any distinguishable students or guest speakers give their consent). In some cases, the institution owns the content and can freely reuse the lectures for its own purposes. And in other scenarios, the ownership is shared.

"I'm a big fan of co-ownership," says Eugene Rutz, academic director of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati. His college uses Sonic Foundry's Mediasite for a special program called "Engineering Your Future," which teaches high school students about careers in engineering and technology.

"When we create these lecture capture opportunities for a program, if the faculty move to a new university or retire, we can use that, say, for the next three years," Rutz says. "But it's also relevant that if they move to another college, they can take that content generated and reuse it, though of course not with UC branding on it." The policy is clearly indicated in the instructors' contracts, he adds. "We haven't had a lot of issues. Most are seeing this as a way to reach a broader audience."

3. Be transparent about expectations.

Faculty should be transparent with students about what lecture capture entails. …

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