When professors proctor exams, part of our job is to answer student questions and clarify the exam, and part of our job is to prevent/catch cheating. At my university in the USA, there is also a "testing center" where students with accommodations (e.g., the right to take the exam in a private space) can take the exam. These spaces have video cameras to prevent/catch cheating.

This made me wonder: would it be possible/appropriate to have a video camera in the primary testing location, for in-person exams? If so, there would be an added disincentive to cheat, and there would also be proof in case the professor witnessed cheating (to prevent a "he said/she said" situation). I found previous questions about video but mostly pertaining to remote exams during the pandemic:

Creating a secure test environment for a programming lab practical

Stance of universities on remote video proctoring of online exams

I also found a discussion of video cameras in academic spaces, suggesting that it's legally allowable:

Preventing leaking exam papers/cheating using phone cameras?

Let's assume that for any class where exams might be video recorded, this information is in the syllabus and students can choose not to take the class. For context, I have been at small liberal arts colleges my whole life, where cameras are not commonly part of the culture. I've never been at a large university so I don't know how normal or unusual video cameras in testing spaces are. Not sure what other considerations would go into the choice of whether or not to add video recording to testing spaces.

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    In my experience, it is unusual (I am at a large public university in the US). You should definitely ask about your specific university policy before doing anything. Commented May 3 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


This is definitely the kind of thing that can be regulated or disallowed under university policies. There are privacy concerns that different institutions may value in different ways. In the US, FERPA law is implicated as such recordings, especially if used for disciplinary action, would be considered educational records; see Department of Education's FAQs on Photos and Videos under FERPA. Overall, I would assume such recording is still rare, but, e.g., Indiana University's policies include the relevant GUIDELINES FOR VIDEO PROCTORING OF QUIZZES AND EXAMS. IU's policy seems relatively permissive. Besides CYA content ("All operators of video proctoring systems must be trained in the technical, legal, and ethical use of the equipment.", "All operators of video proctoring systems will be required to complete IU’s standard FERPA training.") some relevant parts include

Protection of Academic Freedom

The protection of academic freedom is of the utmost importance at IU. In accordance with this belief, video proctoring systems should only be used to monitor or record classroom areas when quizzes or exams are being administered or in cases of emergency. Video proctoring systems should never be used to monitor or record lectures or other instructional activities.

Notice Requirements

In all classrooms that are equipped with video proctoring capabilities, signs that are clearly visible must be posted to provide notice of the video cameras. Any instructor who desires to use video proctoring for a quiz or exam must give all students in the course written notice of the intention to do so prior to the quiz or exam.

Disclosure of Video Records

In cases of suspected academic misconduct, operators of video proctoring systems may disclose relevant video records to (1) the instructor of the course and/or (2) relevant University administrators involved in the student judicial process. If a student is accused of academic misconduct based on evidence recorded by a video proctoring system, the student will be provided an opportunity to view the video records that support the allegation of academic misconduct. If the accused student desires that other individuals be present for such viewing, the student will need to sign a FERPA release form in which the student gives consent for these individuals to view the video records. No other disclosures of video recordings may be made without prior approval from the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

Preservation of Video Records

Academic units that use video proctoring systems should maintain recordings of all video proctored quizzes and exams for a period of one year. In cases of academic misconduct or alleged academic misconduct, the full video of the quiz or exam should be preserved in the appropriate Dean of Students’ or Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs’ office for a period of two years following the internal resolution of the student judicial process.

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    Thanks, this is great! I'll accept later if there are no other answers, but right now I want to wait a bit to see a few more examples or other relevant general considerations. Commented May 4 at 0:20

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