I have been exposed to the use of so many open platforms in my #etmooc course this term, so I finally asked the question to the group about FIPPA in BC, and I have learned that in British Columbia, as educators, we are restricted by this law while working at our institutions. Most BC universities provide a password protected LMS platform for course delivery, often hosted by BC Campus, and they also often provide a university hosted WordPress or other blogging site. These sites are provided to faculty and students in order for the institutions to abide by FIPPA. Often if an institution wants to add a platform such as Voicethread to its LMS site, it will conduct a privacy impact assessment.
Does this mean that educators can not use other open platforms and teach their students about connected learning, about building their own PLE, about publishing their work online or engaging in open programs such as UBC’s new Arts One Digital program?
I asked this question of the learning technology administrator at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and I was advised that most institutions and school districts in BC are struggling with this question. The general rule of thumb for the faculty member is that he/she can not require any student to join a social network or open platform which is hosted outside of Canada as a course requirement. The faculty member can suggest platforms for use in the course at his/her discretion but should offer alternatives in case a student has privacy concerns with the open platforms outside of the university firewall. This is anecdotal, but I have had Criminology students in the past few years who decline posting even a profile on my English Moodle course website as advised by their professors, especially if they are seeking careers in law enforcement. UBC has a good ‘digital tattoo’ project posted on its website.
It is worthwhile watching this BC Campus workshop on FIPPA which was held to help BC institutions sort through the implications of the law. The presentation given by the BC Privacy Complaints Commissioner is important as it gives a window into the types of complaints that could be filed by students in BC.
Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-Secondary Courses