New media, social networking, collaboration sites, image and video-sharing sites, wikis, and blogs offer tremendous teaching and learning opportunities to educators and students, but their use raises concerns about privacy, especially as it relates to work that students are asked to complete as part of a course. New learning environments often leverage Web 2.0 or cloud-based tools that offer limited or no privacy protection. When they do, those privacy settings are frequently outside the control of either the institution or the faculty member. Nevertheless, FERPA places the burden of ensuring the privacy of the education record on the institution. Institutions are beginning to explore the connection between FERPA and student work along with their responsibilities in this area. Information and policy provided at the institutional level can help faculty members make choices about which tools to use and how to use them, and students should be educated about the risks of providing identifying personal information on third-party sites that may be public.
The "7 Things You Should Know About..." series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.
In addition to the "7 Things You Should Know About…" briefs, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.