Equity, Accessibility, & Privacy Considerations

This document includes information, guidelines, and policies related to concerns about remote teaching, equity, accessibility, intellectual property, and privacy. Key staff continue to review and update this material. Issues described here include:

  • Remote Teaching and Learning
  • Equity
  • Accessibility
  • Intellectual Property and Privacy

Flexible Teaching and Learning

Western classes are currently being offered in a variety of modalities including face-to-face, hybrid and online, students and faculty may experience new methods of instruction and participation for lecture delivery, discussion, assignments, group work, evaluation of learning, office hours, and meetings. Classes may utilize web conferencing tools, recorded materials, and other online technologies.


When delivering courses online, it is important that all students are able to fully participate. A best practice is to utilize Canvas for delivering course materials, assignments, and assessments. Strong considerations should be given to making classes asynchronous because some students do not have access to high-speed internet, quality computing, and a private/safe environment. The availability of public resources are limited. Synchronous or recorded activities need to be made available in alternative formats, and flexibility is essential.

For solutions related to computer technology and internet access for students, please review Flexible Learning Resources.


The Disability Access Center determines accommodations for students with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. New online course formats may require the implementation of new accommodations by providing course recordings, captions, real-time remote transcription, among others. Please visit the Accessible Online Course Design for helpful tips in making your course more accessible to all students, or contact the Disability Access Center with any questions.

Intellectual Property and Privacy


For students who are thinking of recording a class session:

Class material falls under copyright law; recording and posting Zoom-type class sessions without the permission of the instructor is against university policy. If a student needs to record a session as part of an accommodation, the student should work with the instructor and the Disability Access Center to ensure that accommodation can be made.

For faculty in making decisions concerning recording of class sessions:

Recording and posting of online class activities must comply with FERPA, which mandates that individual students must give permission if the recording is to be posted on a course website or other public forum. Keeping in mind student rights under FERPA, Canvas may be used for the posting of recordings as it is secure, password protected, and not open to the public.

Copyright and university policy require faculty permission for students to record class sessions. However, notwithstanding that, students may need to record sessions as part of an ADA accommodation. It is expected that the instructor will work with the student and the Disability Access Center to ensure that accommodation can be made.

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

Faculty own the copyright to their own course materials and presentations and these are protected by the U.S. Copyright Law and by University Copyrighted Materials policy.

Should unauthorized recordings occur, you may make a complaint through the student conduct process: Reporting a Concern or Complaint.

In situations in which students do not complete COVID preparation training, or properly show symptom attestation, or fail to wear a mask or properly social distance, students and faculty may make a complaint through the student conduct process: Reporting a Concern or Complaint. Staff in the Office of Student Life are available to assist you in responding in these sorts of situations.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Similarly, students own the copyright in their original papers, presentations, and exam essays. If the instructor is interested in posting their materials on the course website or in any other public way, they must ask for written permission. See Teaching Handbook: FERPA Toolkit.

Note that if images/recordings of students are posted in any venue that may be, even once, publicly accessible, written student consent is required from all students enrolled or present in a course. Recordings of course presentations may not be given, sold, or otherwise distributed.

See also: