Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Blanket recording of tutorials is unlawful

I'm going to repost the essence of an old Twitter thread from June 2018 here for posterity because the issue is live and ongoing.

Some @OpenUniversity folks have been discussing recording of tutorials. 1/
Dr Liz Hartnett @eLizHartnett · Jun 18, 2018 Yes. @OpenUniversity students are in a different situation, and recorded lectures, recorded discussions between academics and recorded lab demos are a must. Remember that tutorials are not lectures and they do not introduce material from outside the module. https://twitter.com/ruth_OUprisoned/status/1008593172312854529
We have to remember the importance of dialogue for learning. Dialogues and personal support are critical for learning and what tutorials are all about 2/

- putting people in touch with people, students in touch with informed, dedicated, caring educators, as well as their peers, as @OpenUniversity did so well for so many years 3/

Is it appropriate to record tutorials? In most instances, no. However, it depends on context, informed & willing consent of participants, andragogy, pedagogy, the purpose of the tutorial and of the recording, the careful management & #security of those recordings 4/

Tutorials are private spaces for students to learn and test boundaries, with the aid of their tutor and peers, through activity and discussion of sometimes complex, difficult, controversial and unconventional ideas. 5/

Students will feel far less able to express themselves freely when they know they are being recorded. You don't need to be an expert in the #chilling effect to understand this. 6/

Mission creep associated with retaining large banks of tutorial recordings is unavoidable 7/

The blanket mandatory/default recording of online tutorials is likely unlawful on multiple fronts, the most telling being a breach of fundamental #privacy rights of students and tutors 8/

European Court of Human Rights in November 2017, in Antović and Mirković v. Montenegro decided that routine recording of educators in the classroom constitutes a direct breach of their rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

That case specifically related to the blanket recording of lectures. Tutorials are a more private learning environment. Compulsory recording of online tutorials is an order of magnitude more intrusive than the recording of lectures, from an Article 8 perspective 10/

Whatever about the legalities, from an ethical perspective, routine mass #surveillance of tutors and students in the classroom is simply wrong 11/

Can recordings facilitate post hoc passive student engagement/learning from others’ tutorial experience? To a variable degree, yes. Recordings are popular with students but represent more of a comfort blanket than a facilitation of effective learning 12/

Is the provision of that comfort blanket a proportionate justification for routine blanket recording of all online tutorials? No. 13/

Is the facilitation of accessibility a legitimate aim? Yes. Is the stated provision of accessibility a proportionate justification for blanket recording of all online tutorials? No. Not when there are less #privacy intrusive means available to meet that aim. 14/

Should the @OpenUniversity be producing appropriate, tailored, tutorial-like multimedia recordings and recordings of selected online tutorials to facilitate learning and access for those unable to access tutorials? Yes. 15/

Should the learning design thinking underpinning these recordings be somewhat more sophisticated than “we have a record button, so let’s use it on everything”? Yes. 16/

A mix of professionally produced module team recorded lectures and selected recordings of online tutorials plus recordings of discussions between academics and students might be a pragmatic way forward 17/

Recordings could be much more professionally, effectively, efficiently & cheaply produced once, then be re-used; whilst simultaneously avoiding all of the serious legal, ethical, pedagogic, logistical and resource sapping issues with default recording 18/

 One size fits all policies in education are invariably a straitjacket, restraining educators ability to meet individual student needs 19/

A policy mandating routine compulsory/default recording of all online tutorials is
•Unlawful: a clear breach of privacy of students & tutors
•Disproportionately intrusive
•Immeasurably & boundlessly defective on pedagogic & accessibility grounds