Sharing Lecture Recordings and Learning Materials: Dos and Don’ts

What are the do’s and don’ts of sharing lecture recordings and learning materials? This question has recently been prominent on lecturers’ and students’ (student unions’) minds. The answer to this question is not clear-cut. First and foremost, there is the legal framework provided by the Education and Examination Code. Then, of course, there is the matter of copyright and privacy law.

Lecture Recordings: Dos and Don’ts

Sharing lecture recordings is only allowed by the lecturer-in-charge. The legal basis for this rule is Art. 47§5 of the Education and Examination Code:

§5. Students are not allowed to use any means of image and/or sound recording to register the teaching activities (including continuous assessment and feedback) and projected teaching materials without prior consent. This activity is regarded as disrupting the teaching activities. Furthermore, the recording is inadmissible as evidence in administrative or legal proceedings and is to be destroyed at the first request.

Students may ask the lecturer in question for permission to use means of image and/or sound recording to register the teaching activities and teaching materials. They are required to specify what, how, when and for what purpose they will record. The recording must not be used for any other purposes than for what the lecturer in question has granted permission.

stop This article clearly states that students are not allowed to make and share (sound and/or image) recordings of teaching activities unless they have been given explicit consent by the lecturer, and only if students have clearly stated the purpose of recording. Such lecture recordings must only be used for the purpose as described.

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Lecturers are (at all times) allowed to record their lectures. This is also covered by Art. 47§5 of the Education and Examination Code:

Ghent University reserves the right, in order to carry out its teaching assignment in the public interest, to record lectures and to make them available and reuse them later or simultaneously via the electronic learning environment to students and teaching staff for educational purposes, provided that the students participating in class are informed of this at the start of class. Students participating in these classes can thereby be portrayed for recording and distribution within the electronic learning platform, should they come into the picture.

At the start of class, lecturers must remind students that the class is being streamed and recorded. This gives students who do not wish to come into view the chance to take a seat beyond the camera’s reach.

During Code Green, it is the lecturers’ autonomy to choose whether or not they will be streaming and recording their teaching activities. Wherever fixed capture agents are present, we recommend making lecture recordings. This is to prevent students who are not able to attend lectures (e.g. due to quarantine, illness, disability ...) from unnecessarily lagging behind. Should a lecturer choose not to make recordings, this must be done in consultation with the Study Programme Committee.

When no fixed capture agents are present, lectures can, if possible, rely on mobile capture sets to record their teaching activities.

Learning Materials (Course Materials, Slides, Exam Questions): Dos and Don’ts

In this matter, too, the legal basis is laid down by the Education and Examination Code Art. 47§6:

§6. Neither is it permitted for students to share for payment and/or profit, image and/or sound recordings and all forms of course and examination material (syllabi, exercises, presentations, examination questions, course notes, lecture recordings, etc.) without permission of the lecturer in question and, if applicable, the author. This may give rise to disciplinary proceedings against the student(s) involved in accordance with the Disciplinary Regulations for Students.

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Students, in other words, are explicitly forbidden from selling existing course and exam materials on platforms such as Stuvia or Studocu. Doing so may result in disciplinary measures.

Even adding notes to existing materials is a punishable offense, not only because it is prohibited by the Education and Examination Code, but also because course and exam materials are a lecturer’s private property, and copyright-protected.

Exam questions are almost always copyright-protected as well (they are a lecturer’s intellectual property), and must therefore not be shared or sold unless the lecturer has given explicit consent.

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Students can share their own, personal course notes or summaries amongst each other (e.g. in case a fellow-student falls ill), provided that students have made the summaries themselves (handwritten, own wording), and there are no recognisable references to the lecturer’s original work.

Student unions with a private platform can give their members the opportunity to share course notes and personal summaries on that forum, provided that they do so free of charge, and with the lecturer’s consent.

Lecturers can consent to their syllabus being sold through a student union, allowing them to bring in some money.

Whom to Contact in Case of Questions or Problems?

Specific questions on sharing lecture and learning materials: Nathalie Depoorter, institutional ombudswoman

Questions on the Education and Examination Code: Steven Bosmans, policy officer at the Education Department (DOWA)

Questions on privacy and GDPR: Hanne Elsen, Data Protection Officer