What’s in our Privacy Policy, anyway?

 In Recent Articles, News

As a parent of a gifted child, I know that the internet is a challenging place. Privacy policies, for example, look scary. Some folks on the internet read a privacy policy and assume that it gives companies rights to do things like sell your (or your child’s) personal details to third parties. The reality, at least for Online G3, is very far from that.

At G3, we take our students’ privacy extremely seriously.

This is precisely why we have worked closely with education law specialists to craft a Privacy Policy and Direct Notice to Parents that reflect our commitment to our students’ online safety. We know it’s annoying to read a long legal document while registering students for classes, but we think it’s important to be upfront about our privacy practices.

To help you understand how we store, use, and protect students’ personal details, we decided it was important to write this blog, clarifying our practices here in plain English and explaining the most recent updates to our policies.

First and foremost: When you agree to the terms in our Online Privacy Policy and the Direct Notice to Parents, you are NOT giving G3 permission to sell your personal information to marketers. We do not do this and we never will.

Now, you might then wonder, what does the privacy policy allow us to do? Why does Online G3 need all of this information? The answer is that we do a ton of things for you and your students with that information!

Primarily, we need the information to make accounts for your students. Our online classes include two main components: the Moodle course management system and the Adobe Connect live webinar service. In order to give students access to these tools, we create accounts using their names and email addresses. We have selected these services not only for their learning features, but also for their excellent security reputations. This summer, we will even be moving our Moodle CMS to a more secure server to better safeguard this critical information.

Your G3 registration also includes access to online learning tools at no additional cost. We have carefully selected these services for their educational value and also for their commitment to student safety. Most of these services have already voluntarily taken the Student Privacy Pledge and have clear terms of service that forbid them from sharing your student’s information with any other services. In addition, G3 is careful to share only the minimum amount of information required to give your students access to these tools. In most cases, that is, as with Moodle and Adobe Connect, just a name and email address.

It’s important to note that we update our Privacy Policy and Direct Notice to Parents as technology options change. For example, we may add or remove services from our third parties list. Our newest integrated service is Pixton, which allows students to create online comics and infographics about the topics they are studying.

Another section of the G3 Direct Notice to Parents details what kinds of student information we store in our Moodle CMS. The legalese sounds scary, but the reality is simple. As students move through G3 coursework, they are writing forum posts, submitting quizzes, viewing videos, sharing Voicethread presentations, etc. All of that data is saved in Moodle. We also record all of our webinars, so when students share their thoughts in the chat or with the microphone, their participation is recorded and saved in a password-protected environment. It is this storage that allows students to interact asynchronously around the world! It is also what allows students to track their progress over the course of the semester. Without these storage provisions, student learning would be fleeting.

While all of the information above is about how we make sure that proper protections are in place for the online security of student information, we are just as passionate about instilling good internet practices in our students. G3 teachers encourage students to think carefully about what they share online. We discourage the posting of personal details, such as phone numbers or street addresses. We encourage the use of pseudonyms, both for fun and safety. We share resources on netiquette and internet safety. However, as much as we try to educate and protect students online, we can’t do it alone.

Parents, please talk to your students about internet safety. Ask to see their G3 profiles and forum posts and discuss what you see. If their sharing is outside your comfort zone, you can always email us at info@onlineg3.com to ask us to delete or edit posts. We have taken as many precautions as possible to protect your students, but there is no replacement for regular conversations about your family values and perspectives on online behavior and safety. We know you have taught your kids to look both ways before crossing the street, so don’t forget to do the digital equivalent.

Jaime Smith is also known as Headmistress Guinevere at OnlineG3.com.  She is the President and CEO of Online G3, Inc., and she teaches literature and grammar at G3.

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