Audio-recording class lectures is sometimes an accommodation recommended for certain students with verified disabilities. Students who have memory impairments, visual impairments, attention deficits or distractibility, impaired auditory processing, or limited manual dexterity often benefit from having audio recordings of class lectures as a supplement to their own or a note-taker’s written notes.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Audio-Recording
Are students with disabilities allowed to audio-record classes?
Yes, if the student has a verified disability and it is determined that this is a necessary accommodation to address that student’s specific educational limitation, the student may record classes. Federal and state mandates require that accommodations written for students with verified disabilities be followed (Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Code of Federal Regulations). Such a recording is an accommodation for note-taking and should not be considered an excuse to miss class. If a professor feels strongly that an audio recording is unacceptable, an alternative accommodation must be found.
Who is responsible for the equipment and recording?
The student is responsible for providing the recording device (including batteries, microphone, and tape if required). The student is also responsible for operating the recorder. Placement of the device near the professor or use of a microphone may be advisable. If a professor so desires, the professor may borrow equipment from the Academic Support Center(ASC) and request that audio files be downloaded only on ASC computers. Files will be deleted at the end of the course.
What if the discussion in class is of a confidential nature?
Some classes involve discussion of confidential material which is not appropriate to be audio-recorded. In these cases, the instructor may turn off the recorder for the portion of the discussion that is confidential; however, material covered while the recorder is off cannot be put on a test. The other students in the course should be notified that a student (unidentified) is recording the class for the purposes of supplementing notes and what measures will be taken to ensure confidentiality.
What about intellectual property concerns over material presented in class?
Students must sign an agreement in order to use the audio-recording class accommodation in which they agree not to copy or release any material from a recording made in class and that the recording is for their personal educational needs. The professor can request that the student deliver the files/tapes to the professor for erasure at the end of the semester.