Distance Learning: Higher Education- Faculty Obligations to Protect Student Privacy

New media, social networking, collaboration sites, image and video-sharing sites, wikis, and blogs offer tremendous teaching and learning opportunities to educators and students, but their use raises concerns about privacy, especially as it relates to work that students are asked to complete as part of a course. New learning environments often leverage Web 2.0 or cloud-based tools that offer limited or no privacy protection. When they do, those privacy settings are frequently outside the control of either the institution or the faculty member. Nevertheless, FERPA places the burden of ensuring the privacy of the education record on the institution. Institutions are beginning to explore the connection between FERPA and student work along with their responsibilities in this area.

7 Things You Should Know About Privacy in Web 2.0 Learning Environments, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's (ELI) latest brief in the monthly series, discover how information and policy provided at the institutional level can help faculty members make choices about which tools to use and how to use them, and why students should be educated about the risks of providing identifying personal information on third-party sites that may be public.

November 2012, the Department’s Family Policy Compliance Office released its annual notice to states and districts of their responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/hottopics/