Schoology's Improved Teacher Verification Process
I’ve noticed some confusion regarding our improved teacher verification process. Though we have worked hard to make this process as smooth as possible, I think it’s important to explain why we have decided to employ stricter security measures across the Schoology platform.
I plan to address these topics in depth, so for anyone interested in the at-a-glance version, here you go:
- We’ve always had teacher verification methods, but we continue to develop them to increase security for students and convenience for teachers.
- New COPPA regulations from the FTC tightened data security requirements to ensure the safety of students below the age of 13.
- We’ve made improvements to our teacher verification process, and our improvements go above and beyond what is required by the regulations
- Schoology is now the only TRUSTe COPPA certified LMS.
What is the Improved Verification Process?
We have recently added a second step to our instructor verification process that asks teachers to verify their identities—not their students’ identities—by submitting a copy of their photo ID. This only applies to teachers with students below the age of 13.
We chose photo ID verification in the best interest of our users, because it is the quickest and most secure way to accurately verify anyone’s identity. Immediately after a teacher is verified, the photo ID is permanently deleted from our systems.
We have been providing manual alternatives via direct correspondence with Schoology staff. We have also been listening to your feedback and understand the apprehension some of you have expressed with this process.
Effective today, anyone who’d prefer not to submit ID has the option to manually sign and submit our policy agreement. Our goal is to improve platform security in a convenient way for teachers, and I believe by adding this option, we’re able to do just that.
How Do I Know I Need To Verify My Identity?
If you teach students below the age of 13, you are required to complete this verification process. We have sent email notifications and there are several notifications in the platform itself which make it impossible to miss.
If you received a notification and do not teach students under the age of 13, please email our Support Team at email@example.com.
To learn all the details of our improved verification process, please see our Help Center article.
Why Improve the Verification Process Now?
The reality is that parents and teachers trust many websites, especially in the LMS space, with the safety of their children and students. Many of these websites allow you to sign up and simply add students under the age of 13 without any verification or parental consent.
As of July 2013, I’m pleased to say that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strengthened regulations in online security for children below the age of 13. These regulations require any websites that have children under the age of 13 to adopt a stricter approach to protecting children’s personal information.
The new regulations also provide additional guidance on how COPPA applies to schools. Ultimately, Schoology depends on and requires schools and teachers to obtain verifiable parental consent (VPC) and to monitor children’s use of the learning platform.
Schoology, however, has always been focused on staying ahead of the curve in regard to student safety. Because teachers are on the frontlines in protecting children, we have sought for a number of years to confirm that the accounts of students under the age of 13 are associated with a verified teacher. We’ve employed several methods to achieve this goal, including credit card verification, the use of complex algorithms, and a cell phone verification process.
With the rapid pace of technology development and connectivity, our security processes must continue to evolve to ensure our users’ personal privacy.
We have worked with privacy experts to make sure our current process goes above and beyond federal regulations and is a model for the way our market must shift to ensure student safety in online education.
Schoology is Now the Only TRUSTe COPPA Certified LMS
TRUSTe is the world’s leading Data Privacy Management Company. In fact, TRUSTe has even higher standards than COPPA when it comes to data security, considering their key role in reviewing the security of online banks, retailers, and more.
I am proud to say that our ongoing efforts to go above and beyond the standards of student safety have made Schoology the only LMS, that we know of today, to meet TRUSTe's COPPA security standards.
Student Safety is a Collaborative Effort
As I mentioned before, student safety is our primary focus as the provider of a learning platform. We cannot, however, ensure a secure environment without your help.
Your continued support is why we are here today and why we have the best and safest learning platform on the market. With your help, we can continue to pioneer new and better ways to improve online learning.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this important process.
Founder & CEO, Schoology
P.S. We are always available if anyone has any questions or concerns. If you do, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.