Lecture capture allows colleges and universities to record classroom presentations for real time or on-demand student consumption. The benefits of lecture capture are numerous. From a student perspective, an absentee will have access to content that would have once been unattainable. The ability to review difficult portions of the lecture multiple times grants students the opportunity to ascertain challenging information allowing the student to be more engaged in a topic during classroom hours. From a university prospective, professors no longer have to repeat information that’s already been recorded in the lecture which allows them to spend more time with students on diving deep into the nuances of a subject or providing the professor more time for his/her research responsibilities. The ability to critique the professor’s presentation skills lets the professor hone their delivery techniques to create more powerful lectures. All of these advantages lead to greater student satisfaction which is a major influencer on increasing university rankings.

While the advantages of lecture capture are many, a university should develop clearly defined policies and guidelines prior to implementation to insure potential legal issues are addressed.


The main question regarding accessibility is who should be allowed to access the recorded content as the answer to this question eliminates a number of design options. The most common answer to this question is that the university wants only the students enrolled in the course to have access to the recorded content. This immediately eliminates the ability for students to be able to download a lecture to their own computer as once a lecture is downloaded, it can be saved and distributed to any other individual, or in a real-world criminal example where the student and university will remain nameless, sold for profit by the student to a company so that a 3rd party organization gained access to the prestigious program’s course material.

That leaves us with an option of streaming a lecture where the students must login to access the video. Of course, you don’t want a generic login such as UN: English101 PW: college where the username and password can be shared and then the content can be consumed by anyone, but preferably use each student’s Active Directory Campus Login account for individual authorization. Once students individually authenticate, you can now see who, how many times, and for how long that person viewed the recording.

Professor Compensation

If a professor who once taught fifty students during in-class lectures is now teaching 250 students due to lecture capture technology, should the professor be compensated differently? In this case, the professor will certainly have to spend substantially more time clarifying content and answering questions for a much larger audience so should they be compensated more for doing so?

Let’s imagine a mathematics professor teaching Algebra 101. If the course is being recorded and the content of that course never changes, the university could decide that the professor no longer needs to teach a live lecture and going forward students will consume the captured lecture without needing to go to class.  Should the professor be compensated into perpetuity as long as the lecture recording is being used by the university or should the professor’s compensation cease once they are no longer spending the hours in the classroom teaching.
These are real questions that I have heard when a university implements a lecture capture system and it’s best to have the answers in advance before these compensation questions delay the rollout of the technology.

For new professor contracts, it’s a relatively easy problem to solve as you can address the stipulations in their contract. But for a professor that has an existing contract, these questions will most definitely arise.

Who Owns the Content

This is a big question especially for research universities. Professors are the key ingredient to the successful implementation of lecture recordings as their presentation styles and communication skills directly affect how well the recording is perceived. In a research university, these same high-profile professors are presenting novel, cutting edge information that might be completely new to their fields. Since the lecture recordings are a culmination of their presentation skills and new research, professors may feel that they have intellectual property rights to the recording. A number of universities are opting for co-ownership between the professor and the university regarding the captured lectures. For example, if the professor leaves his/her position, the university is allowed to distribute these recordings for an additional year and the professor is able to reuse the recorded content at their next position for a year. The goal is to find a happy medium where both the professor and the university are comfortable.

And let’s not forget the other end of the spectrum where a professor may infringe on the use of copyright material in their lecture. In order to protect the university a policy must be created that strictly prohibits a professor from using copyright material if their lecture is being recorded.


It is universally understood that the college must obtain the professor’s consent in order to capture their lecture, but it is just as important to attain consent from every student in the classroom where the recording is taking place. Students often knowingly appear on the recording while giving a class presentation. Additionally, they may inadvertently appear while walking into the classroom or asking a question during the lecture. I would suggest that all schools remain proactive by requiring all students to complete a consent form prior to the first day of class informing the student that all classes may contain some form of audio and video recording.

Guest lecturers must be notified that the university would like to record their presentation and the guest should have the option to decline the recording. Guest lecturers from industry often share sensitive information about their company in a presentation and the college needs legal documentation to protect themselves if confidential information was shared and distributed through the recording. If the guest lecturer agreed to the recording, I feel it’s best practice to circle back with the guest after the presentation has been given to confirm that they are still comfortable with the recording as sometimes during impromptu Q&A sessions guests sometimes provide confidential information forgetting that they are being recorded.

Bill McIntosh
BrightTree Studios