To support its teaching mission, WPI provides several
Information Technology (IT) tools including a Learning Management System (LMS)
and software systems for developing and disseminating course materials. Video
lectures are increasingly used among course materials, especially for remote
learning. The creation, storage, and dissemination of videos requires
significant IT resources. This policy addresses the IT tools that support
developing and disseminating course materials and specifically addresses video
content recording and dissemination. This policy describes the various use
cases of these tools, logistical procedures, data retention standards, the
rights and responsibilities of users, and other guidelines. This policy is intended
to enable effective use of these IT tools for teaching while also maintaining
compliance with state and federal laws and other WPI policies.
The following policy was approved by the WPI Faculty on May 10, 2022.
This policy applies to all instructors, students, staff and others who use the University-supported LMS for academic coursework. The "managing unit" for the University-supported LMS is Information Technology Services, specifically the Academic Technology Center.
This policy applies to all Faculty members, students, staff, and others (“Users”) who use the University-supported IT tools for academic coursework. This document will be reviewed annually and may be updated to accommodate evolving IT tools for teaching.
This policy specifically applies to the following IT tools provided at WPI: (1) Canvas, which is the LMS, (2) Canvas Studio, Echo360, and Ensemble Video, which are software systems for video lecture recording and/or dissemination, (3) class capture hardware systems such as cameras and microphones installed in classrooms on the WPI campus, and (4) Zoom and Zoom Cloud, which are video conferencing and recording software systems. This policy does not apply to any other system used for creating or disseminating audio-visual recordings, e.g., personal YouTube accounts or third-party video recording tools.
- Managing Unit: The WPI Academic Technology Center (ATC) is the managing unit responsible for the IT tools addressed in this policy.
- Student Information System (SIS): WPI currently uses Workday as a SIS for managing student enrollment and course registration data.
- Learning Management System (LMS): WPI currently uses Canvas by Instructure as an LMS for managing all electronic course material. For every course in the SIS, a unique website (“LMS Course Site”) is automatically created within the LMS.
- Class Capture: the action of recording live sessions or other audio-visual course content in a classroom on the WPI campus.
- Video Lecture: audio-visual content used for coursework, regardless of the author(s) of the content (i.e., faculty, staff, students, or non-WPI-affiliated guest).
The use of the LMS, class capture hardware, and software tools is optional for course instructors, i.e., instructors may “opt-in” to the use of these tools. Here “opt-in” means that these tools will not be used by default unless the course instructor chooses to do so. For example, classroom sessions will not be recorded by default without the consent of the instructor. In exigent circumstances affecting WPI, the use of some of these tools may be enabled by default. Any such decision to use these tools by default must be first approved by the Committee on Academic Policy (CAP), the Committee on Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR), and the Committee on Information Technology Policy (CITP), and followed by a vote of approval from the WPI Faculty. In such circumstances, provisions must be made for instructors to decline the use of any or all of these tools (i.e., “opt-out” of their use).
Instructors who choose to use any of these tools shall adhere to this policy in addition to the WPI Acceptable Use Policy. WPI-ITS shall ensure that these IT tools comply with academic policies and shall clearly communicate the provisions of this policy to users. Data stored on the LMS, Canvas Studio, Echo360, and Zoom Cloud is not considered “User Electronic Information” as defined in the WPI Access to User Electronic Information Policy and is therefore not subject to that policy.
The LMS Use and Operation
For all courses with a course registration number in the SIS (Workday), an LMS course site is automatically created. The course instructor and all registered students are provided access to the LMS course site by default. The LMS course site provides mechanisms to disseminate all course materials including assessments and to communicate with students registered for the course. Students can access the contents of an LMS course site only after the site is enabled (“published”) by the instructor.
Access to the LMS, Echo360, and Zoom is available to all WPI community members using their WPI user account credentials. This policy does not apply to access via user’s personal account (e.g., personal Zoom account). Consortium students officially enrolled in WPI courses have a WPI user account. Students with inactive WPI accounts, e.g., students making up for previous Incomplete grades but not presently enrolled in any courses, must work with the Registrar to reactivate their status and gain access to the LMS. Further details about user roles and data access privileges in the LMS are identified in Sec. IV-B (User Roles and Access Management).
Instructors who choose to provide students with video lectures should consider the following typical use cases and consider the use of IT tools in developing and disseminating such video lectures.
|Classroom recording||The recording of a lecture or other class activity as it happens in a classroom on the WPI campus during scheduled class hours.||Classroom activity is recorded by class capture hardware, which typically includes (1) an overhead camera pointed at the lectern, (2) screen capture of any content displayed by the overhead projector, and (3) microphones affixed to the lectern. Additional wireless microphones may be borrowed from the ATC.The recorded videos are stored on Echo360 servers and may be accessed by the instructor through their Echo360 account. Echo360 is integrated with the LMS and classroom recordings automatically appear in the LMS course site under the Echo360 link.|
|Virtual classroom recording||The recording of a lecture or other class activity as it happens in a Zoom virtual classroom during scheduled class hours.||Zoom allows the content owner to record audio, computer screen, and video. However, if student privacy is a concern, controls in the software allow for recording only what is on the screen and not student images. Zoom Cloud and Zoom local recordings can be imported into Echo360. To facilitate this import, Users should contact ATC support via email at email@example.com.|
|Other video recordings||An audio or video lecture prepared outside of class hours. This includes videos prepared by faculty, staff, and students using the IT tools for any purpose.||An audio-visual recording is created using a WPI computer or a personal computer with hardware specific to that computer. Software tools for creating such a recording include Canvas Studio, Echo360, and Zoom. Instructors who want to learn how to use this software may contact ATC support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.|
User Roles and Access Management
A summary of User roles and their data access/control privileges in the LMS is provided below.
|Teacher||The Teacher role has the highest level of privilege within a course site. Users in this role are able to control all aspects of the course through the Course Settings. Instructors and co-instructor(s) listed as a Instructor(s) of Record in the SIS has/have Teacher privileges by default. Instructors must enable (“publish”) the LMS course site before it can be accessed by students. Instructors can access a Test Student account that emulates a student’s perspective of the course site.|
|Teacher’s Assistant (TA)||User can change nearly all aspects of the course through the Course Settings, except for Course Cartridge Import features. A TA cannot request that additional course access be granted to users outside of the SIS enrollment. A TA can access course content before it is “published” by the Teacher.|
|Course Builder||User can add content to the course through the Content areas, access Settings, and create Tests, Surveys and Question Banks from the Course Settings. Course Builders can see all of the course content except for the Grades area. This role is appropriate for a user to manage the course without having access to student grades. A course builder can still access the course if the course is unavailable to students.|
|Grader||User can access and edit all areas under Grades. Graders can also access Quizzes, Assignments, Discussions, and other tools that have been set up as graded. A Grader can access a course before it is “published”.|
|PLA||User can access all Course Content, Assessments, Communication Areas, and Tools that are available to students. User has no access to Grades or Course Settings and does not show up in the gradebook. A PLA can access a course before it is “published”.|
|Student||User can access all Course Content, Assessments, Communication Areas, and Tools that are available to students. A Student can see their own grades in the Grades area. Students do not have access to Course Settings. If the gradebook function is being used, students who are officially enrolled in a course may not have another role in that same LMS course site that enables their access to the course site gradebook. Students who are auditing a course must officially register the audit through the Registrar's Office, following which access to the LMS course site will be automatically provided.|
|Manually-Added Student||This role is similar to the “Student” role above but is not tied to the Student Information System so it is not removed when the SIS syncs up official course enrollments. This role is suitable for students auditing a course, making up an Incomplete during a subsequent offering, or for other course guests.|
|Observer||This role is intended for someone who is monitoring (“observing”) a named account holder. In a K12 setting, a parent who is keeping track of assignments and grades of their minor. Observers have no access to the course settings. Areas within the course are made available to observers, but typically they can only view course materials and do not have access to submit tests and assessments, or have permission to post on discussion boards. Users in this role are not able to access and view course recordings.|
Access to the LMS: Access to an LMS course site is limited only to the instructor(s) and to the students registered for the course through the SIS, unless access to the site is permitted by the Teacher, or their designee (e.g., a TA for the course). Guest Accounts can be created for testing purposes or for users who are not otherwise authorized to have official WPI computing accounts or have no need for WPI resources accessed by a WPI computing account. To facilitate this, an e-mail request to email@example.com is required and must include the name and e-mail address of the person that needs a guest account, the course number, and the course role access level they need. Students may be restricted from accessing the LMS due to administrative holds. In such cases, the restriction may be overridden by the managing unit at the sole direction of the Registrar. In rare and emergent circumstances, such as the death of an instructor, access to an LMS course site may be temporarily provided to the Department Head/Program Director and/or their designees. Such emergent access:
- Is intended to ensure the delivery of a course when the original instructor is unable to do so;
- Must be requested by the Department Head / Program Director and approved by the Dean of the School;
- Will be granted on a case-by-case basis for a duration not to exceed the term or semester for which the course is scheduled; and
- Will not override intellectual property rights of the original instructor provided by the WPI Intellectual Property Policy.
Access to video lectures: Canvas Studio, Echo360, and Zoom have established software integrations with the LMS. Therefore, access to videos through these software systems is automatically controlled through the LMS, thereby ensuring that access is provided to registered students only. Access to videos through these systems may be further limited within the LMS by the Teacher.
User Support and System Maintenance Procedures
The Academic Technology Center offers consultative support in the form of trainings and troubleshooting support for all IT tools addressed in this policy. All requests for support for these tools should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For Canvas and Canvas Studio, further technical support may be available through the vendor (Instructure) through the Help button in Canvas.
Vendors continually deliver software bug fixes and software upgrades. The managing unit reserves the right to perform upgrades or make new features available during the semester if there is a significant change or improvement to the performance of the tool. Users will be notified in advance if any disruption to the learning environment is expected.
The managing unit will notify Users of any planned outages of these tools that occur outside of the weekly downtime posted on the WPI Hub website. The managing unit will respond to unplanned outages to provide updates concerning the resumption of services as quickly as possible. The managing unit will oversee communication efforts to announce upgrades, and bug fixes when appropriate (e.g. when a bug is resolved or when there is a significant change to how a tool or feature is accessed/used).
LMS system administrators may use the “become” emulator tool with permission from the User, which allows them to enter any username and emulate that individual for troubleshooting purposes. This use is covered under the WPI Code of Conduct for IT Administrators.
Content Management, Retention and Backup
All software systems discussed in this policy retain data for certain durations of time described as follows.
|Canvas and Canvas Studio||Course sites will be maintained for six academic years. Concluded courses include student assignments. Course retention policies will be re-evaluated any time a significant version change of the current LMS is installed or a different LMS is selected by WPI. The six-year retention duration applies specifically for LMS sites created for coursework. For all other special-purpose LMS sites that are not associated with a course – e.g., Faculty Governance Committee sites – retention will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Individuals with “Teacher” privileges of such special-purpose LMS sites (e.g., Committee Chairs) are responsible for ensuring appropriate retention, and should contact email@example.com for further information.|
|Echo360||Echo360 content will be maintained for six academic years from the date of recording. When a recording is copied to a subsequent course library, the clock restarts. (Note that in the case of public links being reused, there is no way to reset the clock each time the link is reused so best practice is to copy the recording to a new course library.) Videos older than six academic years cannot be retrieved when they are deleted in accordance with these retention practices. For all other special-purpose LMS sites that are not associated with a course, retention will be determined on a case-by-case basis.|
|Ensemble Video||No retention. WPI will cease to use Ensemble Video in July 2022.|
|Zoom||Zoom cloud recordings are stored in the Zoom cloud library for 100 days from the date of the recording. Zoom local recordings are managed by the User on their device.|
Users are responsible for maintaining any additional backup storage of data beyond the retention durations described above. The managing unit is not responsible for keeping backups beyond the retention durations described above. Users should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for technical support on maintaining backups beyond the standard retention durations described above.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
In most instances, content on the LMS and other software systems discussed in this policy is subject to the WPI Intellectual Property Policy (WPI-IPP). Per the WPI-IPP, teaching and curriculum materials authored by faculty members including classroom lectures, seminars and presentations reduced by or for the author to written or other recorded form are considered intellectual property of the author(s). By consequence, classroom recordings, pre-recorded lectures, and virtual classroom recordings are intellectual property of the faculty member(s) who is/are the official instructors of record for a course. Exceptions, per the WPI-IPP, are: (i) developed as part of a WPI project, program or activity that is the subject of an external WPI agreement; (ii) developed within the scope of employment by non-faculty WPI Employees; or (iii) developed as part of a WPI- Commissioned project. In these cases, intellectual property is owned by WPI.
However, dissemination of such video lectures to anyone other than students registered in the course in which the video lectures were created (“original course”) is subject to the following additional restriction for safeguarding privacy. If a classroom recording, whether on campus or virtual, is created by or involves significant participation by any person other than the instructor, then it is the instructor’s responsibility to maintain written permission from that person to reuse or share that video recording beyond the original course. The written permission should include a duration of time for which the permission is valid. The term “significant participation” should be understood to mean participation to an extent that allows easy identification of the other person.
Common examples of situations where the above restriction applies are as follows:
- A TA conducts a classroom session that is recorded.
- A student makes a presentation or otherwise participates in a classroom session that is recorded.
- A non-WPI-affiliated guest speaker delivers a lecture that is recorded.
- During a classroom lecture or other activity recorded by the instructor, there is significant participation from students or a TA.
The use of copyrighted material in any content processed by the LMS and other IT tools must comply with state and federal laws on copyright. Here, “content” refers to all data such as curriculum materials provided on the LMS by instructors, video lectures provided through any of the IT tools, and assignment or exam submissions made by students. Users must obtain and retain permission from the copyright holder if use of the copyrighted material is not allowed by fair use or if permission for use of proprietary materials is required.
For creating classroom recordings, whether on campus or virtual, permission must be obtained and recorded from any non-WPI-affiliated guest speakers or participants in the classroom. The non-WPI-affiliated guest speakers or participants must be made aware of the recording and of the intended use(s) of the recording.
Similar considerations should be made when creating other video recordings, i.e., written permission must be obtained from significant participants other than the author of the video recordings before dissemination of the video. An example of such other video recordings is:
- Students create a video recording for a course assignment, and the recording happens to inadvertently capture other participants who can be easily identified in the video.
Users are responsible for:
- Ensuring the integrity and legality of the content uploaded to the LMS and other IT tools.
- Compliance with copyright laws, as discussed in the WPI Copyright Compliance Policy, for all content uploaded to the LMS and other IT tools.
- Obtaining permission from other participants in video recordings as discussed above.
- Ensuring that their recordings are properly transcribed and compliant with accessibility guidelines of the University.
Video lectures created via classroom recordings, whether on campus or virtual, are intended for viewing through the LMS by students enrolled in that course. The same privacy considerations that would apply in a physical classroom, particularly to student work, apply to classroom recordings. If any individual disseminates recorded student presentations, group discussions, or seminar classes beyond the original course, then that individual is responsible for obtaining consent as discussed in Section IV-E (Copyright and Intellectual Property). Instructors are not required to obtain student consent when broadcasting their own image and content, when no student participation is recorded or when insignificant student participation is recorded or the broadcast is directed to a defined course.
Personal data is stored and managed in accordance with WPI Data Classification and Usage Policy. (See Actions.)
Instructors may include a statement in the course syllabus that explicitly informs students of the potential for classroom recording and makes students aware of the ways in which the recorded material may be made available to other students.
All video lectures disseminated through the LMS or other IT tools should be transcribed or captioned to align with the University’s guidelines for accessibility. Instructors will be notified by the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) when specific situations require accessible video lectures. The video recording / dissemination tools described in this policy, namely, Canvas Studio, Echo 360, and Zoom, all provide automatic captioning at no cost to the user. Whenever possible, captioning will be turned on by default in these tools, i.e., the user will have to take no action to provide captioning. For those unfamiliar with the tools, online documentation is available through the Academic Technology Center.
List of Related Policies
See Actions for links to each of these policies.
- WPI Acceptable Use Policy
- WPI Academic Policies and Procedures
- WPI Intellectual Property Policy
- WPI Access to User Electronic Information Policy
- WPI Data Classification & Usage Policy
- WPI Accessibility Guidelines & Resources for Faculty
- WPI Confidentiality Policy
- WPI Copyright Compliance Policy
CITP will periodically review this policy.