Paul L. Caron
Dean



Sunday, January 19, 2020

UCLA Law Prof: Why I Won’t Let My Classes Be Recorded

Chronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Why I Won’t Let My Classes Be Recorded, by John Villasenor (UCLA):

In early January, I received an email message from an audio-visual coordinator at the UCLA School of Law asking whether I wanted my spring-semester class to be recorded. More specifically, the message informed me that all class sessions are recorded by default unless the instructor opts out. I responded, as I have to similar messages in previous years, with a request not to record my class.

It’s not that I don’t recognize the advantages of recording. For a student forced to miss class for a legitimate reason, such as illness, having access to a video can make it easier and more efficient to catch up. I also recognize that in large lecture-hall courses with hundreds of students, opportunities for substantive student participation are limited. ...

But for smaller, highly interactive classes — my forthcoming law-school class will have about 25 students and is designed to provide plenty of student engagement — there are also reasons that the growing practice of recording classes should give us pause. One is privacy: Not mine, which I’ve long since decided doesn’t exist when I’m standing at the front of a classroom, but that of the students. ...

Another concern is that recording chills classroom discourse. ... 

Finally, regardless of what colleges might claim, once these recordings are made, they are likely to last indefinitely. That means they will be available for scrutiny years or decades into the future. Imagine if recordings existed of the college or graduate-school classes that today’s politicians and business leaders took in their student days. It’s a safe bet that there would be a cottage industry of people working to dig those recordings up, scrutinizing them for any comments that could be weaponized, and triumphantly posting the fruits of their searches on social media.

That is a problem not only for future politicians and business leaders, but for all of us as well.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/01/ucla-prof-.html

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

I used to feel the same way. But now I record all my classes for my own protection. Students these days get offended by the most minor things.

Posted by: Prof | Jan 19, 2020 3:22:05 PM

I believe that this view is justified.
The current sometimes obsessive need to record everything somehow runs into limits of freedom.

Posted by: Roman Landgraf | Jan 20, 2020 12:31:55 AM

I think it also sends a mixed message to students. It gives them the idea that missing a meeting, or an appointment, has no consequences, that as long as you are trying it’s OK. This doesn’t always work out in the real world.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jan 20, 2020 4:30:07 AM

College professors at all levels are public employees. If cops can be recorded in the performance of their duties, so can professors.

Posted by: SDN | Jan 20, 2020 7:10:31 AM

Participation in class is part of the discipline of learning. Watching a video is passive learnng which doesn't cut it in a competitive environment. Scholars are not entertainers and they should have the freedom to set the tone of teaching the subject matter.

Posted by: J. Austen | Jan 20, 2020 10:41:37 AM

"It’s a safe bet that there would be a cottage industry of people working to dig those recordings up, scrutinizing them for any comments that could be weaponized, and triumphantly posting the fruits of their searches on social media."
- There already is. Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Jim | Jan 21, 2020 6:09:39 AM