How to Make Sure Your Flipped Classroom is Safe and Secure


If you’re an educator or student who feels that the concept of the “lecture,” i.e. sitting and taking notes for an hour or two has little to no value, then flipping your classroom may be a solution that you will find appealing. The ‘flipped classroom’ typically inverts the traditional class model by shifting video lectures and other materials to be reviewed outside of class, and allowing for more active forms of discussion and student engagement while in the classroom.

In this way, students are able to view lectures at home at their own speeds and ask classmates questions about the material via online discussion boards. They then apply these principles in class and receive feedback, while not having to cram the learning of numerous concepts into a short span of time.

Switching to a flipped classroom model comes with the same concerns as does the adoption of any other technology. One of the chief worries is how best to protect student and teacher privacy when they are interacting online. There are privacy guidelines that all schools and educators must follow, as well as some basic measures to maintain online security.

Every school must abide by a number of guidelines in order to safeguard privacy as stated in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

The FERPA regulations include the following:
•    Access to Education Records – you have a right to make a request to view your school records. The school must provide you with access to your records within 45 days of your request.
•    Amendment of Education Records – if you believe there is “inaccurate or misleading information” within your records, you can request that the records be amended. Your school is not required to make the amendment; however, they are required to review your request.
•    Disclosure of Education Records – your school is not allowed to disclose “personally identifiable information” contained within your records (such as a Social Security number) to “any third party” unless they have received a written consent from you.

In addition, the FERPA also allows for students to make complaints about their academic records, specifically the abilty to review, request corrections, or keep their information private, and can mail their information to the Family Compliance Office.

Beyond the FERPA, students and educators should take a number of steps in effort to maintain privacy within an online classroom.

  1. Protect your computer with anti-virus and anti-Spyware software, as well as a firewall set to update automatically.

  2. Don’t include personal information in email signatures. This includes social media information, such as your Twitter and Facebook profiles.

  3. Only use your school email account to communicate with other students and instructors.

  4. Develop complex passwords, and protect your login identification. Do not use the same password for more than one account, change your passwords regularly, and do not share them with anyone else.

  5. Beware of spammers and phishing emails, and do not share any information, such as passwords, or academic information via email.

  6. Regularly back up your documents and files, and consider storing school-related data on a flash drive so that you can access it even if your computer is inaccessible.

  7. When viewing or posting videos, protect content by requiring other students to input a password or other code in order to see, view, or otherwise interact with the video

It’s important to remember that while there are a myriad of benefits to flipping a classroom, not every area of study will benefit from being flipped. Additionally, no one style of learning is a perfect fit for all students, but the advances in technology are making it increasingly possible to accommodate many forms of learning, so long as one takes steps to protect the privacy of both students and teachers.