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5.1.6.p.4. Procedure: Southeastern Technical College Distance Education Student Privacy

PURPOSE

Southeastern Technical College shall verify the identity of students enrolled in distance education courses and ensure that all methods used to verify identity protect students’ privacy.

APPLICABILITY AND NOTIFICATON

This procedure applies to students enrolled in distance education courses at Southeastern Technical College.

Students are informed of this protection via STCs Website, the Georgia Virtual Technical Colleges (GVTC) website, the Online Course Orientation Handbook, the Getting Started section of Blackboard located in online courses, and the New Student Orientation Part A.

ENFORCEMENT

According to the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and Industry Standards, STC develops policies and guidelines to meet all security requirements. Information Technology (IT) systems have built in processes to enforce as many of these policies and guidelines as possible. It is the responsibility of system users to understand and follow all policies and guidelines. If anyone is found in violation of any of these polices and guidelines, they are processed according to our current disciplinary action procedures.

DEFINITIONS

  • Distance learning: a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same physical location. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. Distance learning can include online, hybrid, and web-enhanced instruction.
  • Blackboard: The Learning Management System utilized by the Technical College System of Georgia and Southeastern Technical College (STC) to offer distance education courses through a web-based platform.


  • PROCEDURE

    Southeastern Technical College utilizes (1) secure logins/pass codes and (2) proctored events to verify the identity of students enrolled in distance education courses. Additionally, all students enrolled at Southeastern Technical College, regardless of the mode of instructional delivery (traditional, web-enhanced, hybrid, or online), are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Students are notified of their FERPA rights during orientation. Information about this act is published on STC’s Website and in STC’s Catalog and Handbook. To ensure that faculty and staff understand and carry out the commitments to confidentiality, integrity, and security of student academic records, Southeastern Technical College requires annual FERPA training.

    SECURE LOGINS/PASS CODES

    When students are enrolled in a course in Banner, they are automatically enrolled in Blackboard and a secure login is created. Students enrolled in distance education courses must use their secure login to access courses in Blackboard. The secure login information identifies students to the system on each course visit. Students use Blackboard to submit assignments, complete assessments, access course materials, and view grades. When students log into Blackboard for the first time, they must change their pass code to maintain privacy. Students are instructed not to share their login credentials with anyone and to change passwords periodically to maintain security. From the time of the first student logon to Blackboard, STC faculty and staff do not have access to students’ Blackboard pass codes.

    Reliability, privacy, safety, and security for Blackboard courses are provided by the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection (GVTC). All courses are loaded onto a server that Blackboard maintains. GVTC is the contact for any server level administrative changes.

    Proctored Events

    In addition to using secure logins/pass codes, Southeastern Technical College also requires that every online student complete a proctored event as a means of verifying identity. Students must present photo identification, such as a STC Student ID, drivers license, passport, etc. All Off-Campus Proctored Event Registration Forms and On-Campus Proctored Event Registration Forms must be completed in the presence of the proctor. Proctors are to check the information and signature against the identification presented to ensure that the student who is present for the proctored event is the correct student to be completing the event for the scheduled course. Completed proctored event registration forms and all proctored event materials are kept in a secure location by the instructor of the course.

    PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF STUDENT DATA IN THE STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM

    Banner is the software front-end for the Oracle database housing student data. This data includes all student institutional history, as well as some biographical information. It is the shared responsibility of the Banner system administrator and all departments accessing student data in Banner to guard against it being compromised and the student's privacy violated. At the physical level, this data is transmitted in encrypted fashion to prevent electronic interception or manipulation. Further security is added by disallowing direct access to the Oracle database or its host server from outside the school network. Students in the Banner system are provided a web portal (BannerWeb) to access most of their own student information such as grades, awards, bills, etc. This information is protected at the physical level by encryption and at the user level by a user id and pin number combination login. A student's user ID is comprised of a non-associative, sequentially generated number and the pin is a completely randomized number. It is the responsibility primarily of the student to guard their ID and pin from disclosure. All information in Banner, including student identification numbers, is protected in compliance with the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA) and is not shared.

    PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF STUDENT EMAIL

    Student Email is a secure logon environment. The identity of all students is verified through the use of a secure and unique nine digit student identification number. This identification number is utilized as part of the student’s username when accessing the student email. Additionally, STC utilizes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates to establish an encrypted link between the web server and the client’s browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and web browser remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of online transactions with users.

    Students are responsible for using their STC Student Email address when registering third party products.

    References
    Exhibit: Proctoring Instructions
    Exhibit: Proctored Event Registration Form (On-Campus)
    Exhibit: Proctored Event Registration Form (Off-Campus)
    Link: STC Proctoring Procedure
    Link: GVTC Privacy Statement
    Exhibit: Online Course Orientation Manual

    Adopted: April 16, 2018
    Reviewed:
    Revised: