Privacy and FERPA

Privacy and FERPA

Newsroom 101 takes the following steps to protect the privacy of students using its services -- steps intended to meet or exceed the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements.

Password protection is required. Participants are required to create and use a strong password in order to gain access to Newsroom 101 content and records of their activities.

Students must agree to site policies. As a condition of enrolling, participants must agree to a statement of the site policies governing Newsroom 101.

Most student information blocked from others. Students can see only their own records. Most profile items, such as instant messaging ID, city, courses, and other personal information, have been blocked from view by anyone except the student who entered them, the teacher or other authorized school officials, and the Newsroom 101 administrator.

No guest access. There is no guest access to Newsroom 101 sections used by schools.

Access to student records is controlled. Student records are password protected and accessible only to faculty connected with the specific course, and to Newsroom 101 administrators engaged in such normal activities as operating the service, helping students and teachers, solving problems, analyzing the performance of the site, and answering specific legal queries. By special arrangement, a school using Newsroom 101 may authorize a supervisor who can be given access to the information available to teachers and students from that school who are using Newsroom 101. This arrangement generally occurs when a master teacher supervises several sections in the same department.

Student names and email addresses will not be released to others, except in the event of a transfer of ownership of Newsroom 101, or where that information will be needed to maintain the operation ongoing courses. Student information will, as you would expect, be released in response to a valid legal summons.

Student names, grades, email addresses, and other records on Newsroom 101 are blocked from access by internet search engines or social media sites. 

Complete concealment of email address. If students insist that no one, not teachers or other students or Newsroom 101 course administrators, be able to see their personal email addresses, they can accomplish this by creating a temporary email address before enrolling in Newsroom 101,  using a service such as Gmail or Outlook.com. When such an email address is used to sign up for Newsroom 101, it should remain active for as long as the student is enrolled, because it may be required in order to reset the user’s password or for technical assistance. Such temporary email addresses are entirely the responsibility of the users choosing to create them and are in no way the responsibility of Newsroom 101. Students choosing this option will need to check the special email account regularly for notices from Newsroom 101 or the teacher. Neither Newsroom 101 nor teachers using it are responsible for problems students may encounter as a result of choosing this level of privacy.

Email from Newsroom 101. Students may be contacted by email by Newsroom 101 as part of administering the course, responding to problems, advising participants of important information, or announcing changes or new offerings.

Financial information. When students pay through Paypal, no financial information is available to Newsroom 101 and thus none is recorded or retained.

Blogs and forums are inactive, restricting student posting. Newsroom 101 does not employ blogs, forums, chats, messaging, or similar venues by which students might divulge personal information, expose themselves to public view, violate copyright, or post unauthorized or offensive material. Those features have been turned off because they are not used in the delivery of Newsroom 101.

Statistics will not identify individuals. Student records may be displayed or published in statistical analyses, in which case no information will be associated with any specific student.

Logs will be deleted. The Moodle software that delivers Newsroom 101 creates a dynamic, password-protected database that contains logs of student activities on the site. These logs are accessible only to faculty connected with the specific course and to Newsroom 101 administrators, and only then when those few authorized viewers take specific extra steps to access the logs. These logs and other records of student activity will be deleted from the online site after the course is over. Faculty members who need to retain student records must download the Newsroom 101 grade book and archive it before it is deleted from the online site.