COVID-19 has brought about major changes in how schools operate, and dramatically increased the amount of learning being done at distance. Historically, the management of student devices was limited to times when students were at school. COVID-19 has forced many schools to shift not only to distance learning programs, while also frequently extending the times of day when students and teachers interact. This is often requiring shifts in when and how students are using online devices to learn, and can include instances in which those devices are outside of school facilities.
In recognition of this new reality, Hāpara is publishing its updated and revised policy for using Hāpara Highlights, our instructional monitoring tool. This information promotes the safety and privacy of learners and educators, and will help you create and maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all.
A remote learning environment is very different from a classroom environment. The role of a teacher shifts with less emphasis on behavior management than often occurs in a classroom. Students will usually work on assignments asynchronously, rather than an entire class meeting to pursue work at the same time. This change in circumstance reduces the need for a monitoring tool during remote learning, and the tools that are used help to deliver learning (Hāpara Workspace), access and share documents (Teacher Dashboard) and organize for learning (Student Dashboard) become more important and would continue to be used without any learning disruptions.
Hāpara has previously published its policy on monitoring. If your school/district chooses to use Highlights, Hāpara’s Ethical monitoring policy drives the best practice suggestions, and outlines Hāpara’s position on the proper use and limits to monitoring. Some aspects of that policy that are pertinent to remote learning are listed below:
Parent consent and notification
If you choose to use Highlights, parents should be notified that teachers may be using a Chromebook monitoring tool in a remote learning setting. This may require you to update your Fair Use Agreement and notify parents of this monitoring in a remote learning environment.
The obligation to obtain parental consents, where required, as it pertains to students and their data rests with you. Schools and districts have the responsibility to obtain consent from parents that teachers may be monitoring online activity. Your organization should be able to demonstrate compliance with the parental consent requirements contained in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and other applicable laws.
If you choose to use Highlights without IP restrictions or with an extended window of monitoring time, it is the school/district’s responsibility to supervise how teachers employ the use of the tool.
If you are using Highlights during remote learning activities, that means you needed to lift IP restrictions. When you return back to the school setting, you will need to return these settings back to IP restricted monitoring.
Monitoring time settings
In some situations, educators will need to monitor student online activity outside of regular school hours (i.e. residential schools, juvenile detention centers, etc). If this is the case for your school or district, it is important that you are aware of recent updates.
Hāpara will be updating the settings for Highlights in the Hāpara Admin Console that will impact your school or district. Consistent with the Ethical monitoring policy above, our policy is that absent special circumstances, schools limit monitoring of learner devices using Highlights to 10 hours per day, Monday through Friday as this will satisfy most school’s needs.
Hāpara recognizes that in certain cases (i.e. for students who are in a residential setting) extended monitoring is necessary and appropriate for periods of time beyond traditional or newly extended school hours. If this is the case for your school, Hāpara will be requiring you to acknowledge that you are acting in a way that is inconsistent with Hāpara’s policy for honoring student privacy and record the reason(s) for doing so.
The new functionality in the Hāpara system will show whether a school or district is currently monitoring students for more than 10 hours per day. If that occurs, Hāpara will send you a notification requesting you to adjust the settings in the Hāpara Admin Console by navigating to Highlights under the Modules tab. You must either reduce the time limit to align with our policy or acknowledge receipt of our policy and provide the reason(s), in the Hāpara Admin Console Highlights settings page, for keeping open an extended monitoring window.
On July 6, 2020, all Highlights settings for accounts that are set in a manner inconsistent with Hāpara’s policy will automatically default to 10 hours of monitoring time (between the hours of 7:00AM-5:00PM) if you have not yet provided the reason(s) for keeping your extended window.
Hāpara recognizes this is a turbulent and challenging time in education and delivering learning. However, our view is that it is more important than ever to recognize that students have privacy rights. It is Hāpara’s responsibility to ensure that the Hāpara suite is used thoughtfully so that student privacy rights are respected. We hope to help you, as educators, tech admins and decision makers to be thoughtful about these rights as well.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this. We’re happy to help.
Jean-Luc Nishimwe, Director of Support and Implementation