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(MLive.com)   Should students be allowed to tape lectures on their phones? Teacher contract forbids the practice   (mlive.com) divider line 29
    More: Interesting, University of New York, Graduate School of Journalism, lessons  
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7500 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Oct 2012 at 5:43 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-07 03:23:42 PM  
4 votes:
I used to encourage my students to record my lectures if that made things easier for them, on the condition that they gave me a copy. Then a few years ago, I had a student whose physical condition made it difficult for him to take written notes, and I finally broke down and bought a digital recorder for myself and started posting the recordings on the class website. I like this better for two reasons; (1) the audio quality is much better, and (2) the directional mic doesn't pick up student questions, which is good. A student who is nervous about speaking up in class might be even more nervous if s/he is being recorded, so the classroom recording by other students tended to have a slight dampening effect on participation (I haven't quantified that and have no evidence to back it up, but it just feels that way).

(The weird thing for me is the students who snap pictures of the slides I show, because I also post the slideshows online. Why are you wasting your phone's batteries to get a crappy image of a slide that's already available to you? Makes no damned sense to me.)
2012-10-07 06:43:26 PM  
2 votes:
I don't let my students record my lectures, primarily because it discourages class participation. I used to allow recording, but found that when students know that any questions they ask or comments they make will be recorded, they tend to just sit there. I'd like for my classes to be a dialogue, not a monologue, so no recording allowed.
2012-10-07 06:10:36 PM  
2 votes:

BunkyBrewman: Bunch of bullshiat. Students have been recording professor lectures for decades.

The teachers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a classroom.


Legally, anyone has a reasonable expectation to not be recorded if they request not to be (and they haven't agreed to it in some kind of contract previously). This is why, when you make something like a customer service call, they have to tell you if the call is being recorded. The exception to this is a warrant, of course.

I am a prof. and request not to be recorded. "Why?" you ask. Because if I allowed recording, I would have one person in class making an .mp3 for the other 100 don't want to get out of bed. What happens in this case is that ~50 of those people decide to listen to 15 lectures for the first time the night before the exam, and then they fail. And then getting their grade up before the end of the semester is somehow _my_ problem.

You know, all the time I was in school I never recorded a teacher. I took notes. With, you know, a pen. It's a skill every student should have. Especially since the act of writing it down helps you remember it.
2012-10-07 06:07:57 PM  
2 votes:
The students who record my records are usually ESL students who need more time to digest what I say.

I have had one student come to me after a test and say they had me recorded mis-stating something that caused them to incorrectly answer a test question. I told them that I had also correctly stated that same thing a dozen times, so why did they focus on the one time I erred? They didn't get the 2 points back.
2012-10-07 05:58:21 PM  
2 votes:

Don't Tongue the Reaper!: Temescal: Why don't you like it? I'm genuinely curious.

Can't speak for some beer drinker, but most of us consider our lectures our intellectual property. It complicates things.


Assuming a public school, how is your taxpayer funded lecture, based on a curriculum developed by public employees, not a work for hire?
2012-10-08 09:03:54 PM  
1 votes:

myrrh: FloydA:

Without the teachers' unions, those individual teachers get ruthlessly screwed over.

And with them, the students and parents do.


But too long without them, the students (less so the parents) do as well, as you make it too hard for good teachers to stay.

I'll be the first to admit that unions in general and teachers' unions in particular aren't perfect, but I also don't think that not having them would lead to better outcomes for anyone.
2012-10-08 03:54:38 PM  
1 votes:

kriegfusion: I simply feel that nearly everything is worth writing down, because I find teachers, and lectures, immensely interesting. I simply feel robbed and cheated when I have to write so much, and can't enjoy the lecturer, I guess is what it comes down to.


Well then, I appreciate your devotion (and the good nature in which you accepted my rebuke), but I still think that you will, in time, learn to sort through what is, and what isn't, essential. In a well-prepared lecture, this will be easier to do, in a rambling ill-prepared lecture, this may be nearly impossible.

Perhaps you might try making just the absolute minimal notes during the lecture, and then try to improve upon them afterwards. In this way, you will still be able to "enjoy the lecture", but you will hopefully be keeping a reminder for the future. One caveat----in my opinion, there is a difference between active and passive listening, and if you are enjoying the lecture and "understanding it while it goes on, but not able to recall it immediately afterwards", then you have merely passively attended the lecture, and likely have not learned anything. The act of trying to take notes, however minimal, can make that process active, and it will be even easier for you to recall things afterwards. Try it, what have you got to lose? Best of luck :)
2012-10-08 01:10:09 AM  
1 votes:
As someone relatively close to all of this, my understanding of the situation:

Copyright law is intended to protect people's creative expression. A professor (or their employing institution) owns the copyright to their lectures, because making lectures involves a lot of choices about how to present and teach the material. The lecture is that person's expression of the facts, and is protected. A transcript, recording, or note-taking of that lecture are all derivative works of that lecture (i.e. they do not involve creative expression on the part of the student, they are merely reproductions) and thus the professor has a copyright on those things as well. The students can use their own personal notes/recordings for their own edification under the doctrine of fair use, but could run into problems if they distribute those notes- particularly if they profit from the distribution or if they were to substantially effect the merchantability of the professor's lectures. In other words- you can't sell the professor's work for your own profit and you can't distribute it so freely that people could just get your notes and not have to take the class.

Realistically, I don't think most people around here are that concerned about their copyright. For one, at this institution, the university owns the rights to most things you produce (copyright or patent) if the university equipment is necessary or if you do it on university time. The flip side to that is then the university is responsible for monetizing anything they have the rights to, and the originators get %47 of the return for doing nothing. (That is, if you write a textbook or patent an invention, the university is responsible for making money on those things and protecting your copyrights/patents. They own the rights, but they're obligated to pay you a substantial portion of what they make on it.) All in all, not a terribly bad deal when you consider the cost of monetizing a good idea involves lots of publishers, printers, manufacturers, lawyers, and a host of other costs.

Every academic publication I've ever seen (academic conferences, journals, etc.) require you to assign the copyright to the publication for a variety of reasons. There has been some backlash against this recently, so I know a few journals that will allow you to keep your copyright but charge pretty steep publication fees instead. Even if you retain the copyright, they require that you give them the right to redistribute, so the only real reason to do this would be if you want your work to always be available without cost, rather than requiring a subscription. This is pretty moot to me, as these publications almost always allow you to reserve the right to self-publish on your personal website.

With respect to lecture material, I do know a few people who put copyright notices and DO NOT DISTRIBUTE on class materials and lecture slides. Sometimes this is done out of necessity, such as when you're using someone else's material yourself you probably don't have the permission to re-distribute.

Frankly, a lot of this really depends on the situation. If I'm teaching 101-level stuff that has a dozen (or more) textbooks that cover the material I don't really care if you video tape and broadcast it over the world. Once you get into the advanced topics (graduate classes particularly) it's very possible that there are zero textbooks written on the subject material, and it's very possible that the professor is one of the handful of people in the world that would be able to write one. In that kind of situation, that professor's interpretation of the material is an incredibly rare and valuable resource (forming one basis of their employability, in fact), and I would be very reluctant to give someone unrestricted permission to copy and redistribute that material. There are a lot of almost-bright-enough-but-not-quite PhD's who would love to write a book on a topic but just aren't up to par- and it'd be very tempting to go online and get a few recordings of the preeminent scholars' classes, throw them through a grinder and make some money on whatever comes out the other side.

I'm far less concerned about undergrads and graduate students making copies for their own use. I don't allow laptops in the classroom, however, as they're invariably far more distracting to everyone else than they are useful to the people using them.
2012-10-08 12:10:04 AM  
1 votes:
I once took a writing class where the teacher insisted we use typewriters instead of word processors. She refused to accept anything from a dot matrix printer (even a 24 pin with good print). So I downloaded a typewriter font and she was perfectly happy thinking it came from a typewriter. Stupid.

Then I took a word processing class where the teacher insisted on using only keyboard commands and not using the mouse. I turned on the menu's (20 years ago) and used the mouse and was told to turn off the menu's and not use the mouse. I don't think she knew how to use the mouse.

Another college professor insisted on teaching incorrect information about computer processor specifications. You simply couldn't get him to understand the real specifications. A friend of mine insisted on writing down the correct answers and he failed the test. I just wrote what the teacher wanted and moved on.

Lesson was that many college professors are afraid of technology, don't understand it, don't want to understand it, and won't accept it because they have tenure and are only a few years from retirement so what do they care?
2012-10-07 11:52:35 PM  
1 votes:

Girion47: Oh you mean those things that usually profit the professor since his name is on them and are never referenced in class and written in a way that interpretation on your own is nigh-impossible?


I think the textbook biz is a huge racket so you're preaching to the choir with some of what you say. However, I don't think I've ever had a class where the prof was an author, so never hit that scenario. I could actually theoretically see myself writing enough that I could put it out there as a book, but if I do so it will at least be freely available to my students -- I don't like the conflict of interest. [For anyone who missed, I'm not a prof, but aspiring to be.] Somewhat likely, it'd just be some Creative Commons work. Textbook authors don't actually get all that much from them anyway; it's mostly the publishers. (The class I've taught a couple times has had notes written by previous profs that I hijacked and modified.)

But that said... most classes I've taken, the textbook has been at least relevant. It's more a matter of whether the class makes it redundant or not, so whether I felt the need to actually go look at it. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. (Incidentally, making the book relevant to the course I'd guess is one of the main reasons that people write textbooks.)
2012-10-07 10:44:17 PM  
1 votes:

BumpInTheNight: Somacandra: FloydA: The weird thing for me is the students who snap pictures of the slides I show, because I also post the slideshows online

I post slideshows online in Blackboard, but with no voiceover. Precisely so that students don't try to substitute them for coming to class.

What's the difference between the slideshow + voice over vs being in the class watching you talk and clicking next on the controller?


If you're watching the slide show and voice over at home and you raise your hand to ask a question, I'm not coming to your house to answer it.

No lecture can possibly include all of the information that the professor knows. If you want to actually benefit from the class, the best way to do it is to ask the prof for further information when things aren't clear, or ask me to expand upon a topic that interests you. I don't know what you already know and don't know- my lectures are based on an estimate of what I expect most students know, but I am aware that each student is different. I teach the way that worked best for me when I was a student, but I'm not you. If the way that works best for you is different from the way that works best for me, come to class and ask questions, and I'll adjust my teaching style to accommodate you. I'm good at that.

But if you sit at home and just look at the slides and listen to the audio and then complain that I didn't teach in a way that accommodates your preferred learning style, well, there isn't much I can do about it. Tell me how you learn best, and I will teach the material in a way that is most effective in helping you understand it. But if you expect me to just "guess" how you learn, well, I already did- I guessed "slides and audio." If you want more than that, I recommend coming to class and asking me for it; I'll be glad to oblige. See you there. 

(Not "you" personally, I meant the generalized "you," of course.)
2012-10-07 10:16:19 PM  
1 votes:
In other news, college professors are an entitled bunch who frequently forget who's paying whom. Ric Romero brings you this exclusive hard-hitting exposé at 11!
2012-10-07 09:19:44 PM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: office_despot: I am a prof. and request not to be recorded. "Why?" you ask. Because if I allowed recording, I would have one person in class making an .mp3 for the other 100 don't want to get out of bed. What happens in this case is that ~50 of those people decide to listen to 15 lectures for the first time the night before the exam, and then they fail. And then getting their grade up before the end of the semester is somehow _my_ problem.

If only there were some way of keeping track of who shows up to class and who doesn't, and writing off the ones who miss, say, three classes. I guess it's impossible, though.


That's the entire purpose of exams, I thought.

/Dropping people for absences doesn't stop them from whining any more than giving them a C, either.
2012-10-07 08:40:39 PM  
1 votes:

jigger: office_despot: I am a prof. and request not to be recorded. "Why?" you ask. Because if I allowed recording, I would have one person in class making an .mp3 for the other 100 don't want to get out of bed. What happens in this case is that ~50 of those people decide to listen to 15 lectures for the first time the night before the exam, and then they fail. And then getting their grade up before the end of the semester is somehow _my_ problem.

But it's not your problem at all. They're in college. They're "adults" and it's 100% their problem. It's so "not fair" except that it totally is. Hell, one time I had this kid, I mean adult, come to me after the semester was over because he got a C and needed an A to keep his scholarship. Sorry, bud. I can't just give you an A because you ask for one and you should have come to me a long time ago. Your scholarship is not my problem, especially not now after the semester is over.


YOU go have that talk with my dean, then.
If half my >100-person class fails, it's my problem, trust me.
2012-10-07 07:44:18 PM  
1 votes:

RminusQ: Temescal: Why don't you like it? I'm genuinely curious.

1. I have no interest in getting the Andrew Breitbart / James O'Keefe treatment.
2. Do wiretapping laws come into play? Is Michigan a two-party-consent state?
3. Similar to #2, I've been told if I intend to make a recording of my classroom, I should get written permission from all students' parents. If students wish to make a recording of me, they should get my permission.

Notice this isn't saying it's forbidden. Taping without knowledge and consent is what's forbidden.


Imagine a teacher reading aloud from Mark Twain, including the as-written repeated references to the "N****r Jim" character. Imagine a student putting together a video compilation, recorded on his iPhone, of that teacher repeatedly saying "N****g N****r N****r N****r" and posting it to YouTube.
2012-10-07 07:27:29 PM  
1 votes:
Allowing the students to record the lecture? Can't have that!

alum.mit.edu

Link to video
=Smidge=
2012-10-07 07:27:24 PM  
1 votes:

evaned: Owangotang: No no no, the real reason is because they don't want to have to rewrite tests and answer keys that they've used for the past however many semesters; at least it's the only motivation that makes even a tiny bit of sense.

That doesn't even make sense, except for perhaps the couple days when tests are returned or something.

I'd like to get a teaching (or maybe mostly-teaching) position at some presumably smaller college, and I don't fully understand it. The one thing that does make sense is the participation-dampening effect as FloydA and everlastinggobstopper noted, and that can be reason enough. But that's the only convincing reason I can come up with.


I actually saw the half-the-class failing thing happen in the first course at my institution that got into recording. And you are right, the faculty get blamed for the students not coming to class. We do actually provide notes for the classes online, so it's not the all-or-nothing thing some would like to imagine -- but that year's failure in that class was striking.

BumpInTheNight, I guess I'm flattered then. I've been a on Fark for possibly longer than FERPA's been around, and I used to teach younger students. So it may be that you made a note about something I've completely forgotten!

I agree with you about the logical disconnect. As is often the case when a prof. looks like he or she is doing something weird, there are some discrepancies between school policy and practical reality, which I navigate the best I can.

Je5tEr, I used to work at a private university that had the same rule you describe about ownership of things one did at home. Some companies also have this. My bf and I designed a new bike rack (of all things) and briefly considered trying to patent it before we realized we were both screwed in this exact way.
2012-10-07 07:13:42 PM  
1 votes:
I don't allow my college students to tape record (or any other type of voice recording) my lectures because I crack jokes and tell stories to break up a 3 hour lecture period, to snap them out of the "lecture trance", and to keep things interesting. If one were to take some of my stories/jokes out of context, there could be a misunderstanding.

I don't require my students to take notes. If you can pass my class just by listening and doing all other required work, who am I to argue? It works for you, do it.

I provide PDFs of my lecture slides so that the slow note-takers and those who can't listen and take notes at the same time can keep up. They are also there for those who miss the occasional class.

I drop students when they miss more than the allowed number of classes (two weeks worth for most classes). I do so pretty much mercilessly.

If I have a student who has some disability and one of their accommodations is that they get to tape record my lectures, then I am legally required to allow them to do so. I find that when I know I am being recorded I tone it down and the class can get kinda slow and boring. Being recorded is inhibiting to me and I'm sure to some students (they may not ask a question if they know they're being recorded).

/everyone should have the opportunity to go to college
//not everyone should go to college
///many people in college should not be there
////why do we push everyone to go to college?
2012-10-07 06:38:29 PM  
1 votes:
I encourage my students to record my lectures. I also encourage them to listen to the lectures again whenever they have free time. Some of them tell me that their kids wonder who "that man" is that mommy is always listening too. After the first major test I have 15-20 recorders and cell phones lined up on my desk. It is a real help because they can take basic notes and fill in the details later. Multiple listening sessions also help with information retention. I avoid the problem of students skipping classes by giving unannounced quizzes each week. I also encourage them to take pictures of my concept maps and other "modern art masterpieces" that I draw on the board. The only thing I don't allow is video taping the lectures. I'm not ending up in a gangam style remix.
2012-10-07 06:26:26 PM  
1 votes:

office_despot: Theaetetus: office_despot: I am a prof. and request not to be recorded. "Why?" you ask. Because if I allowed recording, I would have one person in class making an .mp3 for the other 100 don't want to get out of bed. What happens in this case is that ~50 of those people decide to listen to 15 lectures for the first time the night before the exam, and then they fail. And then getting their grade up before the end of the semester is somehow _my_ problem.

If only there were some way of keeping track of who shows up to class and who doesn't, and writing off the ones who miss, say, three classes. I guess it's impossible, though.

I teach at a pretty advanced level. Taking attendance on people over 21 is ridiculous. I don't make people ask permission to go to the bathroom, either.

There have been some electronic efforts to take attendance but they haven't worked so far.

In all seriousness... I know students believe that professors "are trying" to fail them. This is 99% crazy-untrue. I personally would like everyone to have an "A" at the end of the semester. So come to class, be an active listener, and take notes!


Those over 21 should probably understand by then that they are only wasting their money if they aren't doing whatever it is that they need to do to get the most out of what they are paying to take your class(es).
2012-10-07 06:21:31 PM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: office_despot: I am a prof. and request not to be recorded. "Why?" you ask. Because if I allowed recording, I would have one person in class making an .mp3 for the other 100 don't want to get out of bed. What happens in this case is that ~50 of those people decide to listen to 15 lectures for the first time the night before the exam, and then they fail. And then getting their grade up before the end of the semester is somehow _my_ problem.

If only there were some way of keeping track of who shows up to class and who doesn't, and writing off the ones who miss, say, three classes. I guess it's impossible, though.


I teach at a pretty advanced level. Taking attendance on people over 21 is ridiculous. I don't make people ask permission to go to the bathroom, either.

There have been some electronic efforts to take attendance but they haven't worked so far.

In all seriousness... I know students believe that professors "are trying" to fail them. This is 99% crazy-untrue. I personally would like everyone to have an "A" at the end of the semester. So come to class, be an active listener, and take notes!
2012-10-07 06:11:43 PM  
1 votes:
I was never a fan of recording lectures. I could listen to the same thing 10x in a row and not retain nearly as much of it as I would from listening once while taking notes/outlining key points.

I suppose recording the lecture and then taking notes from the recording so that you know you didn't miss anything could be useful, but I wonder how many students take that step. I'm all for using technology to help achieve better results, but just taking a photo of the board with notes and studying from that wouldn't have been nearly as helpful to me as actually physically writing those notes down.

Then again, different peoples' brains work differently.
2012-10-07 06:10:33 PM  
1 votes:

RminusQ: Temescal: Why don't you like it? I'm genuinely curious.

1. I have no interest in getting the Andrew Breitbart / James O'Keefe treatment.
2. Do wiretapping laws come into play? Is Michigan a two-party-consent state?
3. Similar to #2, I've been told if I intend to make a recording of my classroom, I should get written permission from all students' parents. If students wish to make a recording of me, they should get my permission.

Notice this isn't saying it's forbidden. Taping without knowledge and consent is what's forbidden.


So, since the other students could be recorded, it a student wants to make a recording of the class, they should get written permission from all the students' parents?

I'm serious, I'm not being a wise-ass.
2012-10-07 05:57:53 PM  
1 votes:

Temescal: Why don't you like it? I'm genuinely curious.


1. I have no interest in getting the Andrew Breitbart / James O'Keefe treatment.
2. Do wiretapping laws come into play? Is Michigan a two-party-consent state?
3. Similar to #2, I've been told if I intend to make a recording of my classroom, I should get written permission from all students' parents. If students wish to make a recording of me, they should get my permission.

Notice this isn't saying it's forbidden. Taping without knowledge and consent is what's forbidden.
2012-10-07 05:55:25 PM  
1 votes:
So because someone doesn't have an eidetic memory you are going to arbitrarily restrict their ability to accurately reference what was said in a lecture. I don't know about you but when I turn my attention to taking notes I invariably miss other content in the lecture due to the interruption in focus.

I swear teachers these days are idiots.
2012-10-07 05:55:16 PM  
1 votes:
Anything done by government employees should be viewable by the public. Exceptions: private court proceedings, national security, sealed records, top secret clearance, etc. By making lectures private, it puts them on level with national security. Students and teachers are not on that level.

If you are on a public payroll, hold yourself up to a higher standard. Don't stop recording of lectures, just because you like to say or do wacky things in class that might be illegal.
2012-10-07 05:49:44 PM  
1 votes:

ArkAngel: Any records made without the knowledge and permission of the teacher shall become the property of the teacher.

I don't see how this is legal. Any record made is the property of the person who made it, i.e. the student. A contract between the teachers and the school can't affect the student's IP


You might want to return your GED in Law.
2012-10-07 05:49:39 PM  
1 votes:

Nem Wan: ArkAngel: Any records made without the knowledge and permission of the teacher shall become the property of the teacher.

I don't see how this is legal. Any record made is the property of the person who made it, i.e. the student. A contract between the teachers and the school can't affect the student's IP

The students aren't a party to the contract anyway.


So if I go to a concert and record the show then try to market and sell it I shouldnt have any problems?
2012-10-07 03:34:23 PM  
1 votes:
Any records made without the knowledge and permission of the teacher shall become the property of the teacher.

I don't see how this is legal. Any record made is the property of the person who made it, i.e. the student. A contract between the teachers and the school can't affect the student's IP
 
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