REG 08.00.11 - Online Course Material Host Requirements

Authority: Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

History: First Issued: April 24, 2007.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG04.25.05 - Information and Communication Technology Accessibility
 
NCSU REG02.20.01 - Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities 
NCSU POL08.00.01 - Computer Use Policy
NCSU REG11.00.01 - Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA)

Additional References: 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Americans with Disabilities Act (AD) of 1990 
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 
North Carolina General Statute § 168A-7 
FERPA Privacy  
Accessibility Primer and Checklist 
FERPA Consent to Release Student Information 
LMS Services home page 
LearnTech help desk

Contact Info: Vice Provost, Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (919-513-5006)


1. Introduction

When teaching in an on-line environment, it is essential that courses are delivered in compliance with applicable laws and university policies; in particular, those laws and policies designed to protect the student's rights to privacy and accessibility. The purpose of this regulation is to provide methods for achieving compliance when courses, or components of courses, are electronically hosted.

2. Definitions

2.1 Electronically hosted course . An electronically hosted course is one for which some or all of the required components of the course are provided to the students electronically, through the university's internal data network, or externally via the Internet.

2.2 Course component . A course component is a resource utilized by students in a course; for example, the course home page, the course syllabus, lecture notes, online quizzing system, discussion board, etc.

2.3 NC State credit course . An NC State credit course is a course offered by NC State for academic credit. This regulation is applicable to all NC State credit courses with electronically hosted components.

2.4 Course home page . A course home page is the primary URL for the electronically hosted course components, to which students enrolling in the course are initially directed.

2.5 LMS platform . A "Learning Management System," or "LMS," is a software platform for electronic course hosting. The LMS provides a course home page for each course hosted. See the LMS Services homepage.

2.6 Internally hosted course component . A course component is "internally hosted" if the server which hosts the component resides within the Internet address space allocated to NC State University. (Note: The Internet domain name of a server residing within NC State's address space usually ends with "ncsu.edu," but this is not always the case.)

2.7 Externally hosted course component . A course component is "externally hosted" if the server which hosts the component resides outside of NC State's Internet address space. In general, the server's domain name will not end with "ncsu.edu."

2.8 Student education records . "Student education records" are any personally identifiable records (1) about a student or former student, and (2) made, received or maintained by someone acting on behalf of NC State. Examples include

• student test scores or grades;

• assignment submissions, class discussions or comments (where recorded), or other materials produced by students in which the student can be identified; and

• names of students or other identifying information that is linked to non-directory information such as the course(s) the student is taking.

3. Basic Requirements

3.1 The course home page for each electronically hosted NC State credit course must be internally hosted. The Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) office will ensure that the supported LMS platforms provide the software and user interfaces to allow instructors to meet all applicable privacy and accessibility requirements. Questions concerning the proper use of these platforms should be directed to the LearnTech help desk.

3.1.1 For course home pages hosted on a server other than the supported LMS platforms, it is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that the server software protects the privacy of student education records and meets accessibility standards as required by university policy and state and federal law.

3.2 Apart from the course home pages, electronic course components that store student education records should be hosted on the NC State supported LMS platforms unless there are pedagogical reasons to host them elsewhere. For example, a math-intensive course may benefit from an external on-line quizzing and testing tool that has more math capability than the tools provided the supported LMS platforms. Similarly, web tools provided by a publisher specifically to support the course textbook may provide pedagogical resources important to the course.

3.2.1 For externally hosted course components where there is a contractual agreement between the provider of the external component and the university, for example WebAssign, the contract must include a provision binding the external provider to meet applicable privacy and accessibility requirements.

3.2.2 For externally hosted course components where there is no contractual agreement between the provider and the university, the instructor is responsible for ensuring that the provider meets applicable privacy and accessibility requirements. See Section 4.2.1 below. If the externally hosted component does not store student education records (that is, privacy is not an issue), only accessibility requirements need be considered.

4. Procedures

4.1 Instructors may request a course home page on a supported LMS platform at the LMS Services home page. For questions related to any supported LMS platform, contact the LearnTech help desk.

4.2 Instructors planning to use externally hosted course components may contact the LearnTech help desk to learn whether or not NC State has a contractual agreement with the provider to meet applicable privacy and accessibility requirements.

4.2.1 For externally hosted course components for which there is not a contractual agreement between the university and the provider, the instructor may use the checklists hyperlinked under "Related Information" at the beginning of this Regulation to work with the external resource provider to ensure compliance with applicable privacy and accessibility requirements.

4.2.2 In cases where the pedagogical use of an external course component is such that certain privacy requirements can not be met (e.g., the students are posting material on a public web site and their identities are exposed) a limited release form is available to allow students to voluntarily waive certain privacy rights -- see the form hyperlinked under "Related Information". Instructors are advised, however, that students cannot be required to waive their rights, and should be prepared to offer alternative pedagogical approaches that do not require privacy waivers if necessary.

4.2.3 Accessibility of electronically hosted course components is required any time students with disabilities recognized by the NC State Disabilities Services Office (DSO) are enrolled in a course. Where externally hosted course components may present accessibility challenges, instructors should be prepared to use alternative pedagogical approaches that are accessible.

4.3 Instructors should list electronically hosted course components in the course syllabus, and should identify any components that may present privacy or accessibility issues for the student so that these issues can be worked out during the course drop/add period.

5. Exemptions

5.1 Instructors are not responsible for ensuring privacy or accessibility of electronic materials that are not required components of the course (e.g., links to supplemental information that is not part of the required reading list). However, instructors should judiciously consider privacy and accessibility of supplemental links provided to students, and warn them of any known issues or concerns in this regard.