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Blackboard Acceptable Use

Blackboard provides a secure platform for faculty and students to conduct class business online. It is possible to exchange information and files, to communicate privately, and to engage in group communication within classes. In addition, Blackboard can manage all aspects of grading, grade reporting, and managing student educational records in a FERPA-compliant environment, allowing faculty to communicate effectively with students enrolled in their courses. (FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that governs the privacy of student educational records.) State-of-the-art technology and industry best practices are used for data encryption during transit of data to and from the Blackboard managed hosting environment and while data is being stored within Blackboard.

In your physical classroom, FERPA provides guidelines for maintaining student privacy. Blackboard provides a virtual extension of your physical classroom and allows for secure, private, online communication of FERPA-sensitive information in addition to group spaces where students and instructors can interact and exchange information that is not FERPA-sensitive. Restrictions that apply to your classroom teaching also apply in the Blackboard environment, such as not allowing students to see others’ grades or graded work and not using external email to communicate FERPA-sensitive information.

A partial list of permitted course data and documents is provided below:


Permitted Uses      Examples

Non-confidential or general business



Course content, files, and media uploaded by faculty or students that does not contain student educational records. For example, a syllabus, video file, or course reading. This includes files that are not to be released publicly because of copyright.


Student educational records (FERPA) through course tools such as Assignments, Quizzes, and the Grade Center Grades, graded assignments, and class schedule.



Non-Permitted Uses

FERPA-sensitive data may not be transmitted using the external email tool or in publicly available spaces within Blackboard.

Last Modified: 2016-08-12 by Stacey M Johnson, Assistant Director for Educational Technology at the Center for Teaching. Approved by the Office of the University Registrar.