LisaMarie sent me a link to an article on Inside Higher Ed about the "new" rules around FERPA. The article is available online here: http://insidehighered.com/news/2008/12/09/ferpa
Of interest to me was this quote:
For example, here is the language on disciplinary records: “[N]othing in FERPA prevents an educational agency or institution from including in a student’s records and disclosing to teachers and school officials, including those in other schools, appropriate information about disciplinary actions taken against a student for conduct that posed a significant risk to the safety or well-being of that student, other students, or other members of the school community.”As CCCOnline grows we will inevitable see more disciplinary problems and, even though we are online, we do now and then have scary communications with a student. In general I think it is still important to allow students to have the benefit of the doubt -- to assume that just because they had problems in one class does not mean the problems will escalate in the next class. That means we still don't want to exchange much information about students with whom we have had problems in a course and that the best way to exchange information is still through student services. That said, if there is a trend, it's nice to know that we aren't violating student privacy rights it we collect information about discipline problems across courses and act on it.
Don't forget we have a new FERPA training site on the faculty wiki at http://faculty.ccconline.org/index.php?title=FERPA_and_Online_Communications.