Educators setting up online learning programs for students should consider the following:
- Platforms for online learning such as Google and Zoom have not solved the problems of confidentiality or transparency. Zoom in particular has been in the news recently for incidents in which online conferences were hacked and interrupted with vulgar material. To minimize risks, teachers can request, and should expect, their districts to enter into available agreements with the provider that protect teachers from the actions of others who may misuse the platforms without the teacher’s consent. Teachers should not set up a system unless it has been installed and approved by the district through such an agreement.
- A district can require parents to acknowledge that their children are using online resources for instructional purposes and give consent for that use, with the understanding that teachers are implementing instruction through the use of the platforms at the direction of the district.
- Teachers should treat online instruction as classroom instruction, protecting the confidentiality of student records and promptly reporting misuse of the platform by parents, students, or others.
- Teachers should invite or link an administrator to the online session to provide transparency.