Student Privacy and Online Classes
"FERPA" is the acronym for the "Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act" of 1974. (Sometimes this is called the "Buckley Amendment.") FERPA requires that educational records be treated in a very specific way to ensure the privacy of students and their records. SBVC's policy regarding FERPA is included in the College Catalog and can be accessed online at SBVC's website. [Student Rights and Responsibilities]
What are the specific implications of FERPA for online faculty?
Notifying students of their grades via e-mail is a violation of FERPA. Confidentiality is not guaranteed by this means of communication. Further, the posting of grades in any public space on the internet (using the student's name, student number, or social security number) is also prohibited.
Online instructors should only use the Course Management System provided by the District (i.e. Blackboard) to post student grades. This is a password-protected site and is not a violation of FERPA. Final grades should be recorded using the college's protocols for online submission of grades.
Online instructors need to be aware of the students' rights to privacy regarding their educational records.
More information about FERPA can be found at the U.S. Department of Education's ED.gov site.