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In responses to the answers given to this question, I asked a question. From the answer to my question, I think the problem is rooted in different interpretations of the original question. Since I cannot speak for the OP, I simplify the case based on a logical interpretation (since my previous question has an answer, I cannot entirely change it, and ask a new question here).

Despite the controversial opinions, almost anyone considered the OP's strategy unreasonable or illegitimate.

Which of the following points is unreasonable or illegitimate?

  1. The supervisor asks his/her PhD student to deliver a progress report every few months.
  2. The supervisor instructs the PhD student to read his/her report in front of webcam instead of writing it on paper.
  3. The supervisor shares the video reports of research projects undergoing in his/her group.

One may consider consent for the last step, but it is not the case, as the OP stated each PhD student initially agreed to the public release of the videos.

As I emphasised before I personally don't approve the OP's strategy, but don't understand what justifies such a strong attack to the OP.

My Understanding

  • Some people stressed that PhD students might not have the required skills. Since the OP did not mention video making, I interpret the task as "explaining their achievements" in front of the camera only.
  • Some said activities in the social networks is not the responsibility of the PhD students. Again, the OP said, "we have a youtube channel". Thus, I interpret, s/he edits and uploads the videos.
  • For what it's worth, I think at present and for nearly all fields of research your #2 would be a bad idea from a supervisory viewpoint, because you would not want to deprive your student of needed practice in being able to write technical prose well, something that will be needed later for writing papers, for writing grant proposals, for applying to jobs, for writing lecture notes, etc. And this also applies to various non-academic and non-research jobs, so it's hard for me to see the benefits for #2. But maybe it's OK for something like theater and performance studies, or 50 years from now? – Dave L Renfro Jun 25 '18 at 15:42
  • @DaveLRenfro I agree with you as emphased that don't approve the OP's strategy but I don't understand why some consider it as illegitimate as asking a student to make coffee for his/her supervisor. – Googlebot Jun 25 '18 at 15:52
  • Yes, I've read all those answers and comments (even those moved to chat), so I think I understand your intention. Regarding your actual question, I'm not quite sure how I feel --- right now I think I'd want to know a lot more details about any such situation, because I can see myself somewhat supporting either side depending on the specifics involved --- but I did want to mention my gut reaction to #2 in case it's actually done somewhere. – Dave L Renfro Jun 25 '18 at 16:33
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    @DaveLRenfro one point to add, #2 is not bad practice after all. Though written skill is of utmost importance, in my experience, PhD students more lack the skills for oral presentation. I have seen many well articulated dissertations with terrible presentations, but rarely the other way around. – Googlebot Jun 25 '18 at 18:05
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    After looking over various materials pertaining to FERPA (which was pointed at in the various questions/comments/answers), I'm having a hard time seeing how it would apply to work done by a student in the course of their research. The fact that the student is at the university would be considered 'directory information', which is not restricted by FERPA. The research work would not be considered an institutional record, so it would not be restricted by FERPA. But, I'm not a lawyer but am only reading the US Dept. of Education material on FERPA... – Jon Custer Jun 25 '18 at 22:00

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