Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

FAQs, Policies and Guidance

We have compiled information related to various questions and changes that emerged over the past few months. We hope you will find a response to your question(s) here. 

What privacy protections are in place (for me and my students) when we conduct class sessions via Zoom?

CMU has an enterprise license agreement with Zoom, and Computing Services manages that license. Computing Services has prepared information here on the safeguards that are in place to protect Zoom data while still allowing appropriate system administrators to ensure reliability of the service. 

May I, should I record my live class sessions?

Instructors are encouraged to provide asynchronous access to comprehensive course materials used during synchronous class sessions for all students to refer to as a resource remotely. This is especially important for students who are unable to attend a class session in real time. This may include class recordings and/or other material used/presented/provided during the live class synchronous session.

Recordings of class sessions are covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and must NOT be shared with any third-party audience (those not registered or associated with the course-section). If you are recording such class sessions,
follow these strict guidelines:

  • Provide advance written notice to students that you intend to audio/video record course sessions. Notice may be provided via a posting within Canvas, via email to all students in the course or by including notice of recording in an updated course syllabus. If recording will occur on a regular basis it is sufficient to provide written notice one time.
  • When you record a live class session, orally remind students that you are recording it and that the purpose of the recording is so students in the course (and only students in the course) can watch or re-watch past class sessions. This oral notice should be captured on the audio recording and it should be repeated at the beginning of each recorded session. Sample oral reminder: “As a reminder, this session will be audio/video recorded for educational use by other students in this course.”
  • After Zoom creates a link to your class recording, share it only with students in your class. You can do this via your Canvas course (see here if you are using Zoom from within Canvas). Do NOT share the class recording/link via any publicly accessible site.
  • Remind students that the recording is for their use only and not to be shared.
  • Please be aware of the needs of any students in your course with hearing or vision impairments who may have difficulty accessing audio/video recordings. Contact the Office of Disability Resources with any questions or for assistance in making audio/video content accessible to individuals with disabilities (e.g., adding subtitles, compatibility with screen-reader technology, etc.).
  • If access to the recordings is limited to only students enrolled in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent their use and does not require obtaining a written consent. This allows instructors to create access for students in the class to watch or re-watch past class sessions.

What should I do if a student expresses concern about classes being recorded?

Take this as an opportunity to remind all students that class recordings are for their use only and not to be shared – by either the instructor or students. If your class recordings include students participating (e.g., asking/answering questions), as they naturally will, be sure that you are only posting class recordings in areas accessible to ONLY those registered for the course and that require CMU authentication (e.g., via Canvas; NOT via a publicly accessible site).

What should I do if a student expresses concern about sharing video of themselves during class?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on the format of the course and the specific needs of the particular class session. Instructors are advised to consider the value of students sharing their video relative to the course learning objectives. If students sharing video is important to achieving course learning objectives, instructors should articulate their rationale to students (including the case of creating a video-proctored environment for exams). At the same time, we should all be as flexible as possible in accommodating students’ personal situations and comfort levels with sharing video.

What if I want to prohibit my students from making/sharing their own recordings of class sessions?

Instructors who wish to prohibit students making recordings of class sessions may find some guiding questions and sample language (e.g., to be included in your syllabus) here.


How do I protect the IP contained in my course materials when posting online?

Per CMU’s Intellectual Property Policy,  in most cases faculty members retain all IP rights to the instructional materials they create for their courses (e.g., instructional videos, class notes, lectures). One step to protect any materials you own is to include a notice that you are the copyright holder of your instructional materials. For your slides and other documents, consider adding this text (e.g., in the footer): 

©  [year] [Faculty member name] All rights reserved.
Example:  © 2020 Charles Xavier. All rights reserved. 

Note: Do not include CMU copyright on any materials unless Carnegie Mellon owns the materials per CMU’s Intellectual Property Policy (as an example, the materials were developed under a sponsored project and CMU owns them under 3-1 of the IP Policy).

Another step to protect recordings of your course sessions is to include the following statement in your course syllabus, Canvas site, or other locations where students may be downloading your materials: "Recordings of course sessions are provided solely for educational use by students enrolled in the course and may not be distributed to any other person or posted on the internet without the express written permission of the course instructor.”

How can the university assist in IP enforcement?

For any instructional materials that belong to the individual faculty members (i.e., where CMU does not own the materials), faculty members are individually responsible for enforcing any infringement. CMU does not have any standing for IP enforcement in those cases. However, CMU’s Office of General Counsel will provide template text to faculty members upon request that they can use to send to sites that are infringing. In many cases, the more straightforward approach is for the faculty member to complete the relevant online copyright infringement form available at the site.  For example, the copyright infringement form for Youtube is available at  If you are aware of any infringement for materials you believe that CMU owns under the IP policy, please contact CMU’s Office of General Counsel.

What if I want to prohibit my students from making/sharing their own recordings of class sessions?

Instructors who wish to prohibit students making recordings of class sessions may find some guiding questions and sample language (e.g., to be included in your syllabus) here.

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