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Procedures for Protecting the Privacy of Students Enrolled in Online and Hybrid Courses

Faculty members teaching online/hybrid courses are responsible for creating and maintaining an online teaching and learning environment that provides for the privacy and security of students’ personal data and coursework. Accordingly, online/hybrid instructors will enforce the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, which is designed to protect the privacy of students’ educational records. The University’s policies and procedures are used to ensure that students’ FERPA rights are protected. The policy and procedure is outlined in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs and is applied to online, hybrid, and traditional on-campus courses alike.

To further ensure student privacy in online/hybrid courses, these procedures shall be followed:

  1. Protection of student information, course data, and student participation is required by all Reinhardt University faculty and staff involved in the design, development, delivery, and administration of online/hybrid courses. Reinhardt University will only authorize the use of learning management systems that employ at least 128-bit encryption methods and require unique log-in names and secure passwords that meet industry standards for length and complexity.
  2. Student postings to discussion boards, chat rooms, and class forums shall be accessible only to members of the class, the course instructor(s), the program coordinator and anyone specifically authorized and responsible for student learning assessment or oversight of the academic quality and integrity of the course.
  3. Instructors shall use the gradebook provided by the learning management system and/or the EagleWeb gradebook, which prohibits students from accessing other students’ grades. Posting of class-wide grade reports in any form is prohibited, as is sending a student his/her grades through an e-mail message that could be intercepted by someone other than the student.
  4. Grades for discussion board participation, online student examinations, and written assignments are confidential, and are only accessible by the individual student, the course instructor(s), the program coordinator and anyone specifically authorized and responsible for student learning assessment or oversight of the academic quality and integrity of the course.
  5. Material from online/hybrid courses provided by course instructors to be used in program assessment reports will not include the identity of individual students; program coordinators will be responsible to ensure that no information specific to identified students will be included in such reports.
  6. Instructors shall ask students never to reveal their log-in names and passwords to anyone.
  7. In all University-related business and classroom interactions conducted via e-mail, students and instructors are required to use their Reinhardt University email account.