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Implementing Academic Accommodations

A guide for course instructors/departments/schools on implementing common academic accommodations in post secondary

Audio Recording Accommodation

Who has an audio recording accommodation?

Students with this accommodation may have a perceptual, physical or some other disability which impacts their obtaining the same level of information as any other student in the class. This accommodation provides them with the same level of information as others and can be understood as an extension of the student (similar to real-time captioning).

Do instructors have to provide an audio recorder?

Students record their lectures using their own small digital audio recording device.

Are students informed by CAL about limitations on audio recording?

Yes. Students with audio recording as an academic accommodation are informed by their instructor at CAL, at the time of registration, that audio recording is for the sole purpose of their own review of the course and that audio recordings are not to be shared or released. They understand that they are prohibited from using the material for purposes other than private study. If used for purposes other than accommodation and private study, the student could be subject to consequences for academic misconduct.

Classes that involve self-disclosure from students:

In some cases, instructors may object to the use of an audio-recording device in classes (or portions of classes) that involve personal discussion and self-disclosure by students, fearing that audio recorders will inhibit the free exchange of information and potentially violate students' right to privacy. However, because the use of a recording device is necessary as a substitute for note-taking by the accommodated student, it would be unfair to require the student to stop recording while allowing other students to continue taking notes. Therefore:

  • At the discretion of the instructor both note-taking and audio-recording may be prohibited during classes or portions of classes which involve personal discussion and self disclosure. In these cases, instructors should ask all students in the class to put their pens down/stop typing/turn off audio recorders, etc.
  • As an alternative in such cases, the accommodated student may be provided with copies of notes made immediately available by a designated note taker. Such notes should refer only to principles, theories, and techniques demonstrated within the context of those discussions, and not to specific content or personal details that may have been shared in such a forum.

Is consent needed from other students in the class?

For students in the class, they implicitly consent to the disclosure of any question/comment they make to all those who are in the class. Since these students are not disclosing beyond the scope of their implied consent, notice is not required.

Recording in this specific (accommodation) situation is neither an impingement on other students' privacy nor the instructors' intellectual property rights.

Are students with this accommodation required to sign a waiver or agreement to audio record?

There is no requirement for students to sign a waiver, however, course instructors who are concerned about academic integrity can request a student complete this Audio Recording Agreement Form.

Other resources for instructors:

Permission to reproduce in alternative formats as an academic accommodation derives from Section 32. of the Canadian Copyright Act: Persons with Perceptual Disabilities.