Many students have found third-party communication tools and internet platforms useful for their learning. If you would like to incorporate these tools in your courses, there are several topics that you will need to consider as you select digital communications tools for your teaching and learning practices.
“Third-party” communication tools are those that have not been vetted for privacy or security concerns at the University of Calgary, nor are they fully integrated within our IT systems. Such sites include Slack, Discord and Google Hangouts, for example. These sites are not supported by the university for wide-spread use. If they have been authorized for your specific use, these should only ever be used for “level 1” and “level 2” data. Private information such as student IDs, dates of birth, grades, contact information or health information should not be used on these unsecured platforms.
Considerations before using these tools
1. We have a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. This includes when people use an unauthorized third-party site.
- Develop a plan for how to respond if a student, faculty or staff member has a negative experience on the site.
- How will you be able to identify is someone is being targeted? How can you mitigate any online harassment that might take place?
- What do you want students, faculty or staff to do if they feel uncomfortable in this online space?
- How will you comply with relevant retention rules?
- How will you structure the site to promote academic integrity?
2. Communicate the ground rules for expectations of student and employee behaviour on these third-party websites. For instance, please remind everyone that all existing University of Calgary policies and procedures apply to activity in the third-party sites (including social media platforms):
- Code of Conduct. This policy includes statements and protections regarding academic freedom.
- Electronic Communications
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP)
- Gifts, donations and sponsorship
- Student Academic Misconduct Policy
- Student Non-Academic Misconduct Policy
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Policy