Course Recordings

Reminder to Students: Use of Digital Tools and Course Materials


Your use of Canvas, Zoom, and other digital platforms for teaching and learning is governed by the Harvard College Handbook for Students and the Canvas Acceptable Use Policy. 

Course Materials and recordings may only be used as intented by the course instructor, and only for your personal educational purposes.


May I Record my Course? 

Yes, you may record your course in Fall 2020 and make the recording available to enrolled students. Course recordings should be made available only on the course Canvas site behind HarvardKey login so that they are available only to the registered students and other members of the course community. Recording/providing course video using either Zoom or Panopto via your course Canvas site will automatically keep the recordings restricted to the course community. 

What about accessible education accommodations for recordings?

Faculty may be notified by the Accessible Education Office (AEO) of a student’s eligibility to audio record class lecture as a reasonable accommodation related to their disability. This accommodation is for individual educational purposes only, and recordings may not be shared or distributed in any way. Please consult AEO staff with any questions or concerns about this accommodation.

Must I Record my Course? 

No, it is not required that you record your course meetings. However, it is the goal of the college to provide robust curricular options for all of our students regardless of their geographical location this fall without requiring students to attend class meetings after 10:30pm or before 7:15am in their local time zone. For this reason, we encourage recording of class sessions for those courses where it does not pose a problem. 

If you do not want to record your class meetings because of the sensitivity of the topics involved and to preserve the privacy of you and your students, consider other ways of accommodating students around the world. For instance, you may want to hold shorter class meetings at two different times of day so that all students have the opportunity to attend class sessions live. Or, if your course is not a requirement for student progress toward a degree, you may want to set a required class time for your course so that all students know that attendance is required at that time regardless of where they are in the world.   

If you have other reasons for preferring not to record, such as wanting to encourage live attendance, we recommend that you consider other mechanisms of encouraging the desired student behavior so that you can record your course. Providing recordings of the class sessions will make it possible for students in locations distant from Cambridge to enroll. 

Finally, note that you can record your class sessions without publishing them so that you can make them available to students should you need or want to. 

Can Students Record my Class Sessions? 

By rule, students are not allowed to record or distribute videos from their class meetings. We strongly recommend that you reinforce this with your students. However, even though students will not be able to use the Zoom recording function, there is no way (technically) to prevent them from using other software or even their cellphones to capture a recording of what occurs on their screen. That is, even if you do not record your class sessions, it is possible for others to do so. 

If you would like to allow students to participate in a pseudonymous way in class, they can use the Zoom renaming function to change the name with which they appear and permit students to turn off their cameras. 

May I Expect Students to Turn on their Cameras in Zoom? 

Yes, you may expect students to turn on their cameras during class. Unlike in spring, all students should have the necessary technology and private learning space to be able to join with a camera. They may use virtual backgrounds to preserve privacy. 

We recommend that you offer a way for students to ask for an exception to a cameras-on policy either for an intermittent technical issue or for other reasons.  

Who Can Access Class Recordings? 

Class sessions recorded in Zoom are unpublished by default. If you choose to make a recording available to students, you may publish it. Once published, it is available to enrolled students through the Zoom page of the course Canvas site. Those without access to the Canvas site also do not have access to the video. Students cannot download the video. 

You can publish and unpublish videos at any time. You can also set trim points on your class videos to remove parts of the videos you don’t want to share with students. 


Remote Teaching and Learning Challenges due to Learning Environment and Technology Restrictions (HarvardKey login required)