Protecting Student Privacy Without Going FERPANUTS

Back in November, Georgia Tech took down their wikis, claiming that they constituted a FERPA violation. This stirred up quite a discussion on Twitter, as well as on blogs and podcasts (see, for instance this and this).

Decisions such as the one taken by Georgia Tech are troubling, and undermine the kinds of work many readers of this blog do with their students. Nonetheless, student control of their work is important—especially when that work is (or may be) made public. Certainly there are ways (such as allowing students to use pseudonyms or to restrict access to their work, without taking it down) to meet legitimate student concerns, though, without backing away from having students present some of their work online, in public spaces.

So let’s hear from you, readers—what do you do to address students’ reasonable privacy concerns while continuing to ask them to work in public, online environments? Let us know in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed photo by the author.]

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