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Teaching and Learing at Indiana University Bloomington
Teaching and Learning at IUB
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Handbook Table of Contents > Teaching Methods > Technology for Teaching

Indiana University Teaching Handbook

Technology for Teaching



Introduction

The technology for presenting instructional materials and enhancing communication has been rapidly changing in recent years, but it is important to remain focused on the pedagogic rather than the “gee-whiz” value of technology in your class. The key to successful use of technology in instruction is to know the learning objective before choosing a technical tool. Technology can help your students to learn better if you plan it carefully to support specific learning objectives.

Use of Social Networks, Blogs, Wikis, and Other Third-Party Hosted Tools in Instruction

This section identifies common issues and risks when using non-IU third-party hosted (sometimes called "cloud") tools in instruction, and provides recommendations on steps for instructors to take to reduce the risks associated with such tools. This guide is not intended to be used for evaluating non-instructional purposes of such tools.

Introduction
The Short Version
The Long Version
For Assistance


INTRODUCTION

Instructors sometimes consider using non-IU applications and tools hosted by third parties ("third-party tools") in support of their teaching because they want to incorporate tools their students are already using; they want their students to learn how to use common publicly-available tools; they have a need to use very specialized tools; or they feel that tools provided within Indiana University do not meet their needs for some other reason. For example:

While IU-provided tools are designed to meet the standards of university policy and applicable law with regard to data privacy and security, protection of intellectual property rights, and records retention obligations, the tools provided by other entities may not. How a third-party hosting a tool handles and shares personal data and other records and intellectual property created or used by instructors and students when using that tool, may raise significant data privacy and security issues as well as other policy and legal issues. (For more detail on risks with these tools, see Use of Cloud Computing.) Thus, instructors need to carefully review the non-IU tools they wish to use, and take certain steps to reduce the potential risks associated with such use.

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THE SHORT VERSION—SUITABLE FOR MOST INSTRUCTIONAL SITUATIONS

The biggest risks are all about the INFORMATION being put into the non-IU tool. For MOST instructional situations, these are the three most significant risks:

Risk #1 CRITICAL INFORMATION
Don't put any information classified at IU as Critical into a third-party tool without entering into a contract with the vendor.

Indiana University has a data classification scheme, which identifies the sensitive information elements that require the very highest level of security protection. Those elements are:

(Often, but not always, one of these elements needs to be accompanied by an individual's name in order to result in harm.)
If the pedagogical objectives of the course require the instructor or the students to enter this type of information into the third-party tool, then DO NOT USE IT in the course before working through the appropriate institutional offices to get a contract with the service. (See the LONG VERSION for more information on whom to contact regarding this process.) Fortunately, very few instructional activities will require the use of these sensitive information elements, so the vast majority of instructors can move on to . . .

Risk #2 FERPA
Don't put any data covered by FERPA into a third-party tool without entering into a contract with the vendor.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not prohibit instructors from having students use third-party tools as part of the course activities. Content created by students when using such tools to fulfill course requirements (e.g., creating blogs on WordPress or posting videos to YouTube) do not constitute "student education records" under FERPA. However, copies of such records that are maintained by an instructor in his or her own files do constitute FERPA-protected "student education records."
If the pedagogical objectives of the course require the instructor or the students to enter FERPA-protected "student education records" into the third-party tool, then DO NOT USE IT in the course before working through the appropriate institutional offices to get a contract with the service. (See the LONG VERSION for more information on whom to contact regarding this process.)
But in most instructional situations, the use of the third-party tool is by the students only; for example, the students post to Twitter or Blogger, or create and post a survey in SurveyMonkey, or work on collaborative projects with their fellow classmates using GoogleDocs. It may take a few moments of thinking, but the instructor can usually figure out a way to maintain his FERPA-covered files on institutionally provided tools, and the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning stands ready to help you if needed. This allows a majority of instructors to move on to . . .

Risk #3 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Don't give away Intellectual Property you are not entitled to give away, or that you don't want to give away.

Many materials used in instruction are protected by copyright law, and, Indiana University has an Intellectual Property Policy that outlines who owns the rights to various types of materials created or used in support of IU's missions. Are the instructors and students entitled to give away these rights to a third-party tool? If so, do they WANT to give away these rights? Review the Terms of Service or Terms of Use of the third-party tool and ask the following questions:

Be sure that use of other copyrighted materials incorporated into content that instructors upload complies with copyright law, and instruct students to do the same. For further information on compliance with copyright law, see Posting copyrighted materials online, or contact the General Counsel's Office (See "For Assistance" section below).

Finally, it's a good idea to communicate your plans to use these tools to students by indicating this in the syllabus.

For most instructional situations, these three risks are all that need be considered before proceeding.  However, if the instruction is very innovative, complicated, or extensive, the instructor should review the LONG VERSION before proceeding.

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THE LONG VERSION—FOR MORE INNOVATIVE INSTRUCTIONAL SITUATIONS

This list of risks is more comprehensive, for your reference when considering more innovative, complicated, or extensive instructional uses of non-IU tools.

Privacy: Protect student privacy and identity.

Use: Communicate plans to use non-IU tools to students.

Support: Consider that non-IU tools are not fully supported by IU.

Terms of Service: Understand the risks to you and your students.

Intellectual Property: Understand who owns the content and what they can do with it.

Accessibility, Recovery, and Retention: Comply with regulations and campus policies.

[Back to Social Networks . . .]


FOR ASSISTANCE

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