Privacy and Teaching – Best Practices and Tips

Author: Shelley McKenzie (Associate Registrar – Registrar Services and Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Officer)

  • Use your course syllabi to inform students “upfront” of the technology tools and how their personal information will be used, and be prepared to provide “opt-outs”: Advanced informed consent.
  • Do not post grades or other personal information publically (including doors, mass emails).
  • Do not use portable electronic devices (such as USB keys) to store class lists, marks, and other confidential information.
  • Don’t send grades via email. For feedback on assignments (paper, exams) that include marks, send students individual emails with attachments inside of Blackboard, or provide/return directly, in person.
  • If emailing multiple recipients in one email, “BCC” them.
  • Double & triple check email addresses – watch for auto fill!
  • Do not speak about private information in committee or other group settings unless everyone in that setting has a right and need to know that information.
  • Ensure appropriate physical security measures (locked filing cabinets, restricted access to offices).
  • Ensure encryption and password protection where possible. Contact ITS for assistance.
  • Develop and use a system for secure retention and destruction of student work not returned to students.
  • Treat confidential material accordingly.
  • After serving on committees, return all confidential material to Chair or administrative staff person for shredding.
  • Don’t record subjective or inappropriate comments; it may be released. Don’t write it down unless you are prepared to have it read.
  • Recording an event? Post signage or notice that event is recorded.
  • Be sure that others working under your supervision, including Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants and Term Instructors, know and follow these same practices.