It is important to protect the privacy of your students when you are teaching online but it is also the law.
FERPA is the federal law that protects the privacy of personally identifiable information (PII) in students’ education records. “Education records” are those records that are: (1) directly related to a student; and (2) maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution. FERPA provides parents and eligible students the right to access a student’s education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to protect the PII in students’ education records. (An “eligible student” is a student who has turned 18 or is attending college at any age.) Under FERPA, an educational agency or institution may not disclose PII from students’ education records, without consent, unless the disclosure meets an exception under FERPA. 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99.
Two key resources on our website are:
- Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and BestPractices – this resource identifies applicable exceptions under FERPA, including the school official exception. This resource, while originally developed for online educational services, is also applicable for virtual learning tools and includes best practices for safeguarding student education records under FERPA.
- Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service –this checklist is a helpful tool to evaluate online educational apps.