February 7, 2011

FERPA and Social Media

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FERPA is one of the most misunderstood regulations in education. It is commonly assumed that FERPA requires all student coursework to be kept private at all times, and thus prevents the use of social media in the classroom, but this is wrong. FERPA does not prevent instructors from assigning students to create public content as part of their course requirements. If it did, then video documentaries produced in a communications class and shown on TV or the Web, or public art shows of student work from an art class, would be illegal. As one higher education lawyer put it: