Understanding Technology Use and Student Privacy Concerns

Using technology in coursework is an exciting, and amazing endeavor!  In order to protect your students' rights, please understand the role FERPA plays when it comes to choosing and using third party or cloud-based tools.

If you plan on using third party or cloud-based technology tools in your course (e.g. Google products, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc.), it is important to understand the Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).  Some students prefer to opt-out of assignments of this nature to protect their personal, identifying information (including their name) or parts of their academic record (assignments, grades or other content).  You can learn more about FERPA on the University of Puget Sound website via the Advising and Registrar’s FERPA tutorial or their Educational Rights page.

When using third party applications and cloud-based tools, Educational Technology recommends informing students of your intent to incorporate these types of tools using the following statement:

This course incorporates various online software and other technologies.  Some technologies require you to either create an account on an external site or develop assignment content using them.  The content, as well as your name/username or other personally identifying information may be publicly available as a result.  While the purpose of these assignments is to engage with technology as a means for representing the content we are covering in class, please see me for an alternative activity if you object to potentially sharing your account, name or other content you create in these technologies.

This will allow your students the ability to opt-out, and gives you the opportunity to make plans for an alternative activity.  This statement is not official or legally binding, but is meant to notify students of the course’s technology use, and allow them to make a decision about how they wish to share their information.

As another caveat, it falls within best practices to only save sensitive data to either your University of Puget Sound network share or your local, university computer.  For more information about safe computing, and adhering to proper file saving methods, please contact the Service Desk.