FERPA protects the privacy of students education records.

Education records are defined as records that are: (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a party acting for the agency or institution. A/V recordings made in an education settings meet this definition.

This decision tree is intended to assist the OSU community in determining whether consent of the students is required prior to the recording and whether the Office of the Registrar and/or the Institutional Review Board must review the project.

Details Related to the Decision Points

Any institution that receives federal funds from the DoE, which is most institutions of higher and secondary/elementary education, is subject to FERPA. The institution includes spaces that may be beyond the campus or regularly designated space of the institution. For example, prior consent of students must be obtained if recordings of fieldwork will be made or used for research purposes. Review and approval must be sought from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Office of the Registrar (OtR).

Any student who is captured in a recording in some way is protected by FERPA. Plans to segregate students, blur captured images, or omit data from recordings taken of non-consenting students miss the point of requiring informed consent.

If yes, researchers will need to fill out a data feasibility form for the OtR and submit an application to the IRB.

Audio and video recordings of students in an education setting cannot be used for purposes other than evaluation and assessment without prior informed consent from each student in the setting. Student participation must be voluntary and their decision not to participate must be respected. Students may choose not to participate for a variety of reasons and those reasons need not be shared with the researchers. Strategies to avoid recording students who do not want to be recorded disrupt the learning experience, do not uphold the principle of respect for persons, and fail to adequately address the requirements under FERPA. 

Student consent may also be required when recordings are intended for non-research purposes but may result in disclosure of student education information to parties outside of the institutional setting. Contact the Office of the Registrar for more details.

When recordings are strictly for internal evaluation, assessment, or to improve services or instruction, consent may not be required. Please contact the OtR via data request for a determination.

If these recordings are not used for research, nor are they for assessment, evaluation, or services improvement reasons, please contact the IRB and OtR to ensure no further oversight is required.

OSU Office of the Registrar:  http://registrar.oregonstate.edu/

OSU Human Research Protection Program & IRB Office:  http://research.oregonstate.edu/irb

Data request form: http://bit.ly/OtR_data

American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Ask the FERPA Professor:  https://www.aacrao.org/resources/newsletters-blogs/aacrao-connect/article/ask-the-ferpa-professor-5-30-2017

University of Wisconsin - Madison IRB Guidance: Video Recording in Campus Classrooms:  https://kb.wisc.edu/sbsedirbs/page.php?id=42377