FERPA and Technology

FERPA (the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.

What is an education record?

Content that identifies students, or content that students create, constitutes an education record and thus FERPA regulations apply; those regulations require that the university protect the content from disclosure. One exception to the regulations is student consent.

FERPA and technology

Many instructors are aware of FERPA but may not think of it when it comes to technology. Be mindful that Cornell has contracts with a number of vendors whose services are approved for the use of education records. Blackboard, Turnitin, Digication, and LabArchives are all examples of approved services.

Some common examples of technology use that violate FERPA include:

  • Uploading a class roster to a non-approved cloud service, for example SurveyMonkey.
  • Uploading student information or student work to a non-approved cloud service such as Google Docs.
  • Recording students in the classroom, and keeping the video online and open to the public, without their permission.

It is OK to post original student work openly on the Internet if you have the students’ consent, and if you provide an opt-out opportunity for individual students.

What to do if you aren’t sure
  • Cornell’s Regulated Data Chart contains a list of cloud services that are approved for FERPA-regulated data.
  • Your questions also are welcome at the Academic Technologies Center: acadtech@cornell.edu.
Resources

Cornell’s FERPA policy:
dfa.cornell.edu/treasurer/policyoffice/policies/volumes/governance/studentinfo.cfm
Cornell’s Regulated Data Chart:
it.cornell.edu/policies/infoprivacy/regdata/chart.cfm
Information About Enterprise and Consumer Cloud Services at Cornell:
http://www.it.cornell.edu/services/guides/cloud/services.cfm


Support

For support:

acadtech@cornell.edu

elearningsupport@cornell.edu

(M-F, 8a - 5p ET)

607-255-9760
(M-F, 9a - 5p ET)

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