Social Media Guidance for Teachers

Social media is a contemporary form of communication that can be used within the classroom; however, it's subject to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Federal Accessibility Guidelines.The intent of these recommendations is to establish a base set of guidelines that allow for the use of "Social Media" in a class setting while still protecting the student and staff from unlawful or unwanted exposure.Instructors are encourage to have an active discussion of these items:

  • When students are assigned to post information to public social media platforms outside of the university LMS, they should be informed that their materials may be viewed by individuals who are not class participants.
  • If students indicate an issue with usage of social media outlets, instructors should provide guidance about safe practices, to include:
  • Protecting their privacy and overall anonymity
  • Include identification of security procedures and settings
  • Establishing ghost or shell accounts to maintain privacy or establishing alternative assignments when appropriate
  • Students should not be required to release personal information on a public site (i.e., phone numbers, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates).

  • Students should be aware that social media tools routinely collect, store, and share data about their users. These data are usually maintained in aggregate, but personalization techniques are used and bring exposure (in the forms of direct advertising, for example) to the user by third party sites or tools.

  • Instructors need to be aware of and use safe practices on their own social media accounts to ensure personal safety.
  • As faculty and staff members are mandatory reporters, as outlined in Policy 13-72, social media is likely an extension of this policy and instructors need to be aware of their responsibility as it relates to this policy
  • Instructors should reserve commentary on assessment considerations (i.e., publicize student grades) as this is a public forum accessible to unintended viewers
  • Instructors should be cautious about feedback or discussion maintained within social media channels when used as a 'teaching moment' and/or to provide constructive criticism (this is not meant to prohibit such feedback, just to encourage prudence in its use)
  • Instructors should include a statement in the syllabus that indicates how social media will be used as part of the requirements for the course