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Windows Thread, Staff Access to Student Home Drives? in Technical; ...
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    Exclamation Staff Access to Student Home Drives?

    We have had a request to give staff access to all the studentsí home directories so they can monitor files.

    Has anyone else had a similar request?

    Are there any concerns/issues with data protection that we should be aware of?

    Thanks in advance for any useful information

    Noah

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    We've always provided staff with read only access to the students home folders. Staff don't end up accessing the folder very often.

    Can't see any problems with data protection etc.

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    Thank you for reply. Are you sure there are not data protection issues with any member of staff being able to access any students files. Did you research it before implementation?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    I have this setup at every site. The justification is to allow teachers to monitor and evaluate pupils work. All part of their jobs after all

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    child protection laws would override any data protection laws, not that I can think of how a teacher could infringe data protection by reading homedrives.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    We have setup read only permissions for the Teachers as well. I have also taught the more able teachers how to use previous versions to check how much work they have actually done in any given period of time.

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    iatkinson's Avatar
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    We have this setup for all teaching staff, primarily for coursework and marking issues. No problems data protection wise as far as I know and the staff very rarely cause problems...also takes some of the policing work away from us in terms of inappropriate content.

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    rdk
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    I think its quite common. Some general statement in an ICT policy that network storage is a school resource provided to students for school work only, and that it can be accessed by staff should cover any privacy issues.

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    EduTech's Avatar
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    We have shown the ICT staff how to access the students home DIR. but tbh none of them ever use it. and the rest of the school probably wouldn't remember how to get to them anyway. but they all do have read access just they dont know it :P

    James.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There are some data protection issues ... but nothing that cannot be dealt with by policies and a bit of planning.

    The area of concern is how homeareas are used by students (and staff too actually) and how the policies are communicated.

    The important aspect of the DPA here is that of ensuring access to data only where relevant. Some users will store personal information about themselves or others in their home area, either as projects or particular subjects (eg in geography they may collect statistical information from other students about how they travel to and from school) or as more personal information such as a diary or collection of emails.

    Firstly, you need to clearly state what information can be stored in home areas ... stating that non-work or personal information should not be stored there, or if it is part of a project then the teacher organising it needs to be aware of the DP implications of the information being stored.

    Secondly, in each home area you have sub-folders for each subject that has read access (or read/write) locked down by the use of security groups. The generous schools might give a personal folder for non-work items but the form tutor has access to this.

    This isn't that far from what happens with ePortfolios or some VLEs / Learning Platforms, so it is not that bizarre an option.

    The only real objections to the above sort of setup is from some teachers who want full access, some teachers that don't want the responsibility of having access, some support teams who object to anyone other than them having access, some support teams who have (valid!) concerns that with Read/Write access there comes a risk of files being deleted or over-written by mistake causing problems when work needs to handed in or increasing the amount of restore jobs, and those who are concerned with the amount of work for setting it all up (hey ... that's what scripts are for surely?)

    If anyone can add some more PROs and CONs to the above it would be appreciated and those who have this sort of set up (or similar) if you can give examples of how you set it up (scripts / tools / etc) it would be helpful for others who are being asked for this.

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    joe90bass's Avatar
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    We've only given our Business and IT faculty access to students user areas. No other faculty seems to want/need it. I'd be interested if others here have a script to setup the access levels and subject folders. Scripting isn't my strong point....

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    we give all staff read access to all students folders

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    BaccyNet's Avatar
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    We have a group that we add staff to when they need to get files from students areas. They only have read access and usually get taken out of the group when they've done.

    It does state in our AUP that files etc can/will be monitored, it just doesnt say who does it

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    We give read access to all staff and specialist ICT and Media studies teachers have read and write access for administration of OCR exams which require a inf file to placed in the user's home directory before the exam software is started.

    It is clearly stated in our AUP for both staff and students that home folders are secure for the storage of school related data but that the content will be monitored by school staff and if requested would be surrendered to Law enforcement agencies.

    I don't like the law enforcement language its too American but that part wasn't my decision.
    Last edited by Teth; 21st October 2008 at 12:36 PM.

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    ...part of our AUP. Staff have total access to student home drives. All that should be there is school work, so no privacy issues should exist.
    Don't forget, the DPA covers paper based data, so if home drives are out of bounds, so should workbooks etc!!

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