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Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Tips and Tricks for Teaching Remotely

This guide is intended to introduce you to material and resources that may help you when teaching a class remotely.

What Is FERPA?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law  that governs parents (until the student reaches 18) the right to have access to their child's education records, the right to seek to have the records amended, and the right to have some control over the disclosure of personally identifiable information from the education records.  In higher education, the student, and not the parent, controls access to their records. The FERPA statute is found at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g and the FERPA regulations are found at 34 CFR Part 99.

How Does FERPA Apply to Faculty?

Personally Identifiable Information may be released only to the student, as long as the student has produced the proper identification. 

FERPA & Class Recordings

If a recording includes only the instructor, it is not a student record and FERPA will not come into play.

If the recording includes students asking questions, making presentations or leading a class, and it is possible to identify the student, then the portions containing recordings of the student fall under FERPA. Educational records can only be used as permitted by FERPA or in a manner allowed by a written consent from the student.

If access is limited to other students in the class, FERPA does not limit or prevent its use and does not require obtaining a written consent. 

It is a best practice to inform students that a recording is being made, if the recording can be viewed, and the persons who might be viewing it (within FERPA allowances)

FERPA Don'ts

  • Do not leave exams, papers, or any documents containing a SSN/UCID/Username, grade, evaluation, or grade point average in any area that is open–access (this includes student mailboxes).
  • Do not leave graded materials for students to pick up in a stack that requires sorting through the papers of other students.
    • You or your teaching assistant may distribute the materials individually to students
    • You may place each item is a sealed envelope with the student's name on it.
  • Do not hand graded information back to the group once it has been graded if it is a group grading situation.
  • Do not record attendance by passing around a class list, which contains the student’s SSN/UCID/Username.
  • Do not provide tests and assignments scores, evaluations or final grades via email.
  • Instructors are restricted from posting grades in classrooms (except as follows), on websites, and/or online course management systems unless the student’s identity is concealed by a secure student identifier and password entry interface.  
  • If you are giving out grades or other FERPA protected information over the phone, make sure that the person you are speaking to is your student. Ask questions that only the student could answer.

FERPA Guidance:

Douglas K. Burgess, PhD
Assistant VP & University Registrar

Lorren J. Ratley
Director Privacy, Office of the General Counsel

Faculty and staff accessing and storing confidential information in unsecure locations (e.g., flash drives, public or home computers, etc.) create the risk of unauthorized access to protected education records.


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