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FERPA Guidelines for Classroom Use of Third-Party Sites/External Links

As you plan classes, just a reminder that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the University of Richmond (UR) from disclosing personally identifiable information from a student’s education record without written permission. Requiring the use of any electronic media in a manner functionally the equivalent of the traditional classroom use of textbooks, homework, tests, etc., where the process is external to UR, raises FERPA issues. This chart provides a general guideline to assist in recognizing FERPA issues.

If you have any questions, contact Susan Breeden in the Registrar's Office at ext. 8400.

I want my students to visit a website

‐to view information

No FERPA violation if no registration required, not a course requirement, no points or grades involved.

‐to view information, but registration required (email; name)

No FERPA violation if students are disclosing directory information only, not a course requirement, and no points or grades involved.

‐to do optional homework/problems/self‐

tests; registration required

No FERPA violation if students are disclosing directory information only, not a course requirement, and no points or grades involved.

I want my students to:

 

‐create an account at a wiki/blog/similar webpage where they will complete tasks required for class

OR

‐ use a website to do homework/problems/tests required in my course; registration required (whether or not I can retrieve grades)

OR

‐ use a website that the publisher of my textbook provides; registration is required; grades are kept on servers outside the UR domain

OR

‐use an online course; registration is required; grades are kept on servers outside the UR domain

FERPA may be violated unless students:

 

--voluntarily sign consent forms (NOTE: a click-through agreement won't suffice—the form must specify records to be disclosed, purpose for their disclosure, persons to whom they will be disclosed and signed and dated by student). 

OR

-are allowed to register with a computer alias to allow only faculty to identify the student

OR

--the service provider has signed an agreement with the University of Richmond acknowledging its FERPA responsibility to UR and agreeing to be liable to UR for any FERPA violation.

Do not execute an agreement or accept terms and conditions of use until it has been reviewed and approved by the Registrar’s Office

If you require students to register at third-party sites, especially if grades are stored on the third-party server, students must be able to use aliases if that publisher has not signed a FERPA-compliance agreement with UR and students must be aware of this option (best to include in syllabus or log-on information for the site).

The following online vendor(s) has signed appropriate agreement(s) with UR or is integrated with Blackboard and does not access student information:

  • WebAssign
  • McGraw-Hill Connect

The following online vendor(s) offer students appropriate alias options:

  • Pearson: MyEconLab, Mastering Chemistry
  • Simbio: SImUText