Audio recording is an appropriate accommodation for many classes. Students can use their own recorders or check one out from Center for Accessible Resources (CAR).
Audio recorders are available on loan to record lectures and class discussions.
How to request this service
Please see our Requesting Accommodations page for step-by-step instructions on requesting accommodations like audio recorders.
- Recordings need to be for the private educational use of the student and cannot be shared.
- Nondisabled students' comfort does not trump disabled students' civil rights to equitable access to the class content.
- Students shall not release recordings to others, post on the internet, or disseminate any part of the recordings or course materials to others, or in any other way prevent the instructor’s ability to copyright the lecture.
- Only lecture/theory based information shall be audio recorded. Small group discussions or confidential information shall not be recorded at any time. If a course or portion of the course involves personal comments or sharing of private information that would be inappropriate to record, the student will stop recording and resume recording when/if lecture resumes.
- This accommodation is specifically mentioned by OCR (Office of Civil Rights) as an appropriate student accommodation. (See the question: what academic adjustments must a postsecondary institution provide?)
- A free trial of a speech-to-text transcription service, IBM Watson, is available for students to transcribe and print audio recordings. After plugging the audio recorder into the computer, click "select audio file" and navigate to the audio recording. Watson will transcribe the entire audio file in the space below. For help using this service please contact CAR.
Instructional Video: How to use IBM Watson
Note: This accommodation is not appropriate for all classes, especially those where a lot of personal information is shared. In this case, discuss the accommodations you will be using with the instructor, and consider specifically what you need to have recorded. Some instructors will allow recording of lectures, if the recorder is turned off when requested, for example when someone is about to share something private that they would prefer not be recorded.
Please see the student agreement for handling audio recordings and checking out equipment on CAR's Student Agreement page.
Questions or concerns? Students should immediately contact their CAR Accommodation Specialist/Primary Advisor. If needed, visit CAR's Grievances page for information on informal and formal complaint processes.