15 Student and Technology Privacy

Educause recently announced that student privacy is the third most important issue for Information Technology (IT) in 2019 [1]. The Quality Matters standards for online course design state that learners should be provided with information on protecting their data and privacy (Standard 6.4) for all technologies.

You could address student privacy issues by including short descriptions in your syllabus or assignment guidelines and/or links to longer descriptions of privacy statements for any technologies you use.

Examples

You might add a statement such as the following to your syllabus:

Student Privacy

In this class, our use of technology will make student names visible within the course website, but only to other students in the same class. The University uses Canvas; a secure, password-protected course website. If you are required to use any tool external to Canvas for learning activities or assignment completion, a link or description of privacy policies will be included in the directions provided in the course site.

You can add statements such as the following for each external technology used to your syllabus or assignment guidelines:

VoiceThread and Privacy

Your VoiceThread presentations are only shared through the course site and not publicly published on the VoiceThread website based on directions and settings provided. Please do not share presentation links with others outside the class. VoiceThread is centrally licensed by the University of Minnesota. VoiceThread is a signatory to the Student Privacy Pledge, a set of principles intended to safeguard student privacy, including responsible stewardship, protection, and transparent handling of student personal information. For more information read the VoiceThread Privacy Policy statement. 

For additional tools, see these Privacy/Accessibility Statements that can be added to the syllabus or assignment guidelines.


  1. Caines, A., & Glass, E. (2019, October 14). Education before Regulation: Empowering Students to Question Their Data Privacy. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2019/10/education-before-regulation-empowering-students-to-question-their-data-privacy

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Guidelines for Online Teaching and Design by TeachingSupport@UMN.edu and Faculty Development for Online Teaching task group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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