Procedure to Protect the Privacy of Distance Ed Students
SAC complies with all of the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We are committed to protecting the privacy of a student’s educational record regardless of delivery method. Admissions and Records is the point of contact for all FERPA related issues, and all employees are informed and trained of their responsibilities of unauthorized release of confidential records or information. Because an online environment creates a record of student activity, it is subject to FERPA privacy rights, unlike verbal exchanges in a physical classroom.
Identity Verification in Distance Learning Courses
The identity verification process for online courses protects student’s privacy through the use of a secure portal, with a secure login and student-created password. All online courses are hosted on Alamo Colleges District secure learning management system, Canvas. Faculty can post assignments and exams within the learning management system to ensure the privacy of student information.
Alamo Colleges District also issues each student a nine-digit student identification number. This number becomes the unique identifier for students throughout their academic history at the College.
Faculty and staff understand and carry out a commitment to confidentiality, integrity, and security to protect the privacy of students who participate in distance learning activities. Students’ records are kept private by the instructor, except in cases where academic staff or administration access the course, with legitimate educational interest under FERPA guidelines.
In order to maintain course security and protect student privacy, faculty do not access or attempt to access another employee’s or student’s account without authorization as described in Board Policy C.1.9 Appropriate Use of Information Technology .
In order to maintain confidentiality, portal login passwords are generated by the student and any password reset is completed through a “secret question” protocol. It is the student’s responsibility to keep their password confidential. See Student Code of Conduct Policy Procedure F.4.2.1 and Policy C.1.9 Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources.
Only work submitted to open forums, like discussion boards, can be accessed by other students; other assignments, grades and correspondence are not viewable by other students.
Both students and faculty are responsible for the security of their secure-portal passwords and are strongly encouraged to use strong passwords and change their passwords every 90 days.
Some SAC fully online courses require students to come to campus for proctored exams in order to verify student identity and maintain the integrity of the exam. All SAC fully online courses require a biometric signature verification in order to verify the student’s identity prior to taking an online assignment or an exam.
SAC students are required to use Alamo Colleges District email address to communicate with their online instructors or contact the instructor through the communication features within the course Learning Management System. This will ensure that all electronic communications with the instructor are secure.