Recording college lectures gives students the opportunity to learn beyond the restraints of a brick-and-mortar schoolhouse. The audio and video recordings also give professors the opportunities for disaster. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that one professor was placed on administrative leave after appearing in a video called “apparently baked professor” that was posted on YouTube. Another recording pushed the lines of legality after a private conversation between a professor and a student about grades—a subject protected by federal statutes—was recorded and almost posted online.
The new recordings may threaten “the traditional freewheeling spirit of the classroom” according to the Chronicle, if professors are scared of saying the wrong thing on camera. Colleges are working to curb this tendency by making it easier on faculty to edit the recordings at will. With camera phones sitting in the pockets of nearly every student in college, however, the editing software may not offer much protection.