BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection Of Privacy: Using EdTech in a BC Classroom


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


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6 Responses to BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection Of Privacy: Using EdTech in a BC Classroom

  1. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for the post – you are asking interesting and important questions that we should all be aware of in our own districts. As you point out, it seems that no one is too sure about what the laws mean for educators. And while I sometimes think the laws are being too restrictive, I also sometimes think our move towards open platforms is out pacing our ability to stop and think about possible implications. And I know there are implications. As the saying goes, nothing in this world is free.

  2. Al Smith says:

    I have been struggling with this issue at my high school. Some jurisdictions are are following a dangerous ‘forgiveness’ strategy while others, like my district, are following the letter of the law with zero student social media in the classroom. Here is my post on this http://reflectiveteacher2012.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/vision-planning-and-hazards-building-digital-neighbourhoods/ THANKS

  3. janlynn2013 says:

    I wonder what a ‘forgiveness’ strategy entails? I would think districts would abide by the laws in their risk management planning.

  4. Pingback: Digital Citizenship Week OOE13 | Rhonda Jessen.comRhonda Jessen.com

  5. Pingback: Topic 3 November Digital Citizenship | Open Online Experience

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