Ask the FERPA Professor

April 19, 2020
  • covid-19
  • FERPA Professor
cartoon figure reminiscent of Einstein stands in front of a chalkboard with the board "FERPA" written on it

Dear FERPA Professor:

If you hold a Zoom meeting with students in which the students are recorded, is that considered a student record?

Recently a faculty member stated she believed this to be the case, and that if this video were posted anywhere (including Google classroom), it was a FERPA violation.  The faculty member suggested recording instruction without discussion to post to the LMS, and then host a live Zoom, unrecorded, for question-and-answer sessions. 

Is this a correct application of FERPA?


Concerned in the time of COVID


Dear Concerned:

The instructor is correct that any recording by a school official involving students is an education record on those students if it is maintained. 

While FERPA is technology neutral, any technology used by an institution would need to ensure that no improper disclosure of education records results.

The pertinent question is is whether the LMS is only accessible and used within the classroom, in which case it would probably be okay.  If it is accessible outside the classroom, however, it would present a potential FERPA conflict. 

The suggestion to have the instructor record the lecture and post may be a good strategy for ensuring that the activity remains FERPA-compliant.

I hope this is helpful in answering your question.

The FERPA Professor




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