How To: Protect Participant Privacy when Recording with Zoom

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Recording Class Sessions with Zoom

When recording class sessions or meetings in Zoom follow the guidance outlined here to protect student privacy.

In general, student meetings and classes should not be recorded unless necessary. However, some instructors like to record live Zoom sessions to allow students to watch a missed class session, to review an earlier session, or share with a future class. Depending on who is shown in the recording, they may constitute educational records that are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) — the federal student privacy law. This guidance explains acceptable practices for utilizing instructional video and audio recordings. Instructors who intend to record sessions should include language in their syllabus about the purpose of Zoom recordings and the protection of student information.

Here is an example that can be used in your syllabus:

"Our class sessions will all be recorded for use by enrolled students, including those who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are consenting to have their video or image recorded. If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate orally are consenting to have their voices recorded. If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the "chat" feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live.”

The FAQs below contain some specific questions about recording instructional Zoom sessions. Additional information about photos, video, and audio recordings under FERPA can be found on the US Department of Education FAQs on Photos and Videos under FERPA


Are video or audio recordings of lectures a protected student record? 

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 written consent from the student.


Do I have to notify participants that I am recording?

Yes. Tell students that you will be recording. By default, Zoom notifies meeting participants that a meeting is being recorded, but it is best to have an acknowledgment from you.

Here is an example that can be used at the start of the session:

“This class session is being recorded. By joining today’s class session, you consent to being recorded.”


What Recording settings should I select in my Zoom account to best ensure students are not recorded in the archive?  

Before you schedule your meetings:

  • Go to and log into your Zoom account. 
  • Click on My Account (upper right)
  • In the left column, select Settings
  • Select the Recording tab and choose the following settings:
  • Disable Local Recording. For most instructors, recordings should be kept in the cloud and not downloaded to a local computer. 
  • If you wish to have a video of the speaker recorded during screen sharing, enable Record active speaker with shared screen 
  • Disable Record gallery view with shared screen
  • Disable Display participants’ names in the recording 
  • 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.

Allow students to turn off their camera and microphone using Stop Video and Mute in Zoom and participate via Chat if they prefer.


Can an instructor publicly share a screen capture of a Zoom session or recording that shows one or more identifiable students? 

No. Unless FERPA compliance through the use of consent has been given. Screenshots should not be shown on Facebook, Twitter, or any other public platform.


Can students publicly share class recordings or screen captures of a Zoom session or recording that shows one or more identifiable students? 

No. Instructors should tell students that they should not share the link to any class sessions or take screen captures of Zoom sessions. Students who violate this request can be subject to the student code of conduct.


Can the instructor show recordings from last year’s class to the current class? 

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


If the instructor wants to allow access to a video (that shows 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 the students shown in the recording. This type of consent can be obtained on a case-by-case basis or from all the students at the outset of a class.
  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 (simply blurring a student’s image and removing their name is not sufficient, as the student may still be identified).


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

  • 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 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 by the student.


How do I obtain written consent from a student?

Review FSW's FERPA FAQs or contact the Office of the Registrar to determine how to obtain written FERPA consent from students for instructional video recordings. 


View Zoom’s FERPA Compliance overview.

Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC This document by Rozalind Jester was adapted from works by Michelle Pacansky-Brock and CVC-OEI, Erin Whitteck and Jingrong (Pearl) Xie of University of Missouri, St. Louis and Rice University.It is shared with a CC-BY-NC license. You are free to re-mix it without permission, provided you attribute the authors.

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Article ID: 110975
Sun 6/28/20 2:48 PM
Mon 6/17/24 12:17 PM