Privacy Procedures for Computer Usage
Odessa College complies with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and protects the privacy of students’ educational records regardless of delivery mode. The Registrar’s Office enforces FERPA and is the main point of contact for all FERPA related issues. The Registrar’s Office is responsible for ensuring that faculty and staff receive training in their responsibilities of unauthorized release of confidential records or information. Because an online environment creates a record of student activity, it is subject to FERPA privacy rights, unlike verbal exchanges in a physical classroom.
Identity Verification in Distance Learning Courses
The identity verification process for online courses protects student’s privacy through the use of a secure portal, a secure login and password. Online courses are hosted on Odessa Colleges secure learning management system, Blackboard. Faculty post assignments and exams within the learning management system to ensure the privacy of student information.
Student’s records are kept private by faculty, except in cases where academic staff or administration access the course, with legitimate educational interest under FERPA guidelines.
It is the student’s responsibility to keep his/her login and password confidential. A password reset is accomplished through an e-mail response sequence protocol.
Only work submitted to open forums, like discussion boards, can be accessed by other students; other assignments, grades and correspondence are not viewable by other students.
Both students and faculty are responsible for maintaining the security of their secure-portal passwords.
Fully online courses may require students to come to campus for proctored exams or may allow proctoring through online proctoring services in order to verify student identity and maintain academic integrity.
Odessa College students are encouraged to use their assigned e-mail address to communicate with online instructors or contact the instructor through the communication feature of the learning management system. This is to ensure that electronic communications with the instructor are secure.
Odessa College provides data and communications services for students in residence halls, classrooms and labs. On the main campus and at some remote facilities, data access is also provided via a secure wireless network. Each student is responsible for maintaining the security of his/her username and password by not sharing this information. Odessa College provides data network and the connection to the Internet to enhance the College’s programs and services. Only authorized devices may be connected to the College’s network. Authorization is obtained through the Network Services office in the Spur building. Certain activities on the College’s network are prohibited. Engaging in prohibited activities may result in the loss of computer privileges. Among these activities are:
- Unauthorized access of third-party computers using college computer equipment or facilities.
- Destruction, theft, alteration, or any other form of sabotage of college computer equipment or facilities including, without limitation, software and data files.
- Using hacker programs and trying to access computer systems using hacker techniques.
- Attempting to hack into external computer systems using college computer equipment or facilities.
- Running “file share” software on computer equipment or facilities.
- Using college computer equipment or facilities to store or transmit junk mail or other unsolicited commercial e-mail.
- Using college computer equipment or facilities in any manner that violates federal, state or local laws or other policies of Odessa College, including harassment, intimidation or attempts at such.