"Georgia Tech's interpretation of FERPA is that protected information includes the fact that a student is enrolled at all. The folks at GT responsible for oversight of FERPA realized that a student's name in a website that references a course is evidence of enrollment. Yesterday, in one stroke, every Swiki ever used for a course was removed. None of those uses I described can continue. For example, you can't have cross-semester discussions or public galleries, because students in one semester of a course can't know the identities of other students who had taken the course previously."Guzdial fears that not only does this undermine constructivist learning on campus, but that this interpretation may spread to other schools. The Department of Education is currently revising FERPA laws, but it's primarily to make student data available for more longitudinal studies. No word from campus officials or from the Department of Education what prompted this move, but it does point to a fairly common occurrence: schools interpreting these pieces of legislation to restrict students' communication and access online, right at the time when the Web has such great potential for teaching and learning.
by Audrey Watters on 15 Nov, 2011
Audrey Watters is an education writer, a recovering academic, a serial dropout, and some days, ed-tech's Kassandra.
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