A student comes to the dean’s office to complain about a professor’s temper/political rants/harassment/dementia/use of profanity/racism/(you fill in the blank). The student notes, “I have a voice recording app on my phone, as well as a video camera. I am going to start documenting these events. If you won’t do anything about this, I am going to upload this to the Internet. I don’t care what the syllabus or the student handbook says about recording in class, I’m fed up with all of this behavior.”
You’d be amazed at how often such threats come up. Certainly there are legal issues attached, but once such a recording or video is uploaded, it’s a part of the infamous “permanent record” that now has fresh meaning in the age of digital records. I’m surprised, in fact, that such uploads haven’t happened more frequently.
We all have heard the lessons of e-mail and social-networking sites: always assume that everything you write is public; don’t say anything that you would not want repeated. Perhaps we need to extend that lesson to the presence of smart phones in our classrooms: always assume that everything you say and do in class, including your gestures, will be recorded and reviewed.
Have you seen an increase in recorded materials being used in student complaints?