About Data Privacy and Ethics of Remote Learning

Data Privacy and Ethics of Remote Learning


Responding to the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus continues to reshape what it means to teach in higher education. This fall, courses will continue to be held online, and it is important to consider what digital platforms and tools we would like to use to teach in an online setting. Doing so responsibly means taking into consideration what the implications are for selecting each tool and challenging ourselves to prioritize using platforms that help keep student data private and safe. This workshop considers the pressing ethical and privacy questions that teachers should consider as they begin to move their courses online. For example, in your course planning, have you considered how might you be generating "learning data" with the tools you've chosen? In addition to data privacy, does the platform or tool you are planning to use follow, at the minimum, a universal design for learning?

As we move into the Fall semester, we need to take a step back and look at what data we are (un)intentionally collecting of us and of our students as a result of hybrid and online learning environments. In this workshop, we will consider the dimensions of data privacy and ethics, particular of our students' learning data, in tandem with our need to utilize different remote learning platforms and tools. We will also discuss how we can make our remote learning environment more accessible.

Learning Objectives

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Explore possible digital platforms to use in your course and assess what the possible tradeoffs are for using the tool.
  • Read sample privacy and data usage statements and consider how student data are being recorded, stored, and repurposed by the digital platforms we use.
  • Review tenets of universal design and consider what can make our remote teaching and learning environment accessible to people with visual impairments, unstable internet connections, few technical skills, and more.

Estimated Time

1-2 hours.


  • None.


Pre-reading suggestions



  • Current author: Di Yoong
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