UW-Madison Teaching and Learning Data Transparency Statement

UW-Madison operates a number of central IT systems and services that support teaching and learning. These include Canvas, Kaltura, Unizin Engage, Direct Evidence of Student Learning and more. All of these systems collect, record and generate data related to student learning activities.

What Teaching and Learning Data Are Collected

In addition to the personally identifiable information used to grant students access to specific course-based materials and to authenticate student access to online systems and materials, digital teaching and learning tools commonly also record, generate or collect additional information including the following:

  • Student Access Logging – including date and time of access, length of session, web browser and operating system used, date and time of work submissions.
  • Student Work Submissions and Interactive Activity Records – including discussion posts, uploaded documents, online quizzes and exams, as well as individual scores associated with any of these.

How We Use Teaching and Learning Data

UW-Madison’s use of teaching and learning data is described broadly by the UW-Madison Privacy Notice, and all UW-Madison institutional data (including teaching and learning data) are protected by the Institutional Data Policy. When teaching and learning data are used for learning analytics, UW-Madison adheres to the Guiding Principles for Use of Learning Analytics that emphasizes the values of beneficence, transparency, privacy and confidentiality for the use of data. University records including teaching and learning data are retained and disposed in accordance with UW-Madison Record Retention Schedules and Disposition.

How We Protect Teaching and Learning Data

The privacy and security of faculty, staff and students’ personal information is a priority for UW-Madison. The university carefully evaluates and vets all campus-supported digital tools used to support teaching and learning. UW-Madison takes necessary steps to ensure that the providers of such tools prioritize proper handling of protected data in alignment with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), industry standards and our institutional goals.

Academic researchers leverage data about students in the university’s teaching and learning data for research purposes and those activities are overseen and governed by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

Frequently Asked Questions From Students

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Where can I find more information about student data privacy and FERPA?

The UW-Madison Office of the Registrar provides general reference materials about student data privacy and federal law (FERPA) applicable to the protection of student data, including definitions of certain special terms established by FERPA.

How are decisions made about who can see teaching and learning data about me?

UW-Madison has established a Data Governance Program applicable to collection, processing or disclosure of all UW-Madison institutional data (including teaching and learning data). Data governance is a key institutional means for assuring compliance with applicable laws and campus policies controlling appropriate access to teaching and learning data as well as other types of institutional data.

Who can see teaching and learning data about me via digital learning tools?

Under UW-Madison’s Institutional Data Policy, access to institutional data, including teaching and learning data, is authorized and managed to protect individual privacy, maintain confidentiality, and ensure appropriate access and use. Access is limited to those having an appropriate UW-Madison business purpose and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations (including FERPA). Specific persons and institutional roles having access to teaching and learning data within campus-supported digital learning tools vary by tool. In general, instructors commonly have the ability to access certain teaching and learning data within digital learning tools when this is consistent with UW-Madison policy and legally appropriate.

Can I opt out of UW-Madison, or its tool providers, collecting teaching and learning data about me?

In general you may not opt-out of the collection and retention of teaching and learning data produced or collected as part of UW-Madison’s teaching and learning activities, including data produced or collected as a result of the use of UW-Madison’s campus-supported digital teaching and learning tools. These data, whether stored digitally or written manually, are records of your academic experience as a student, and it is both in your interest and required by the University of Wisconsin System that we retain such records. These records can form the basis of letters of recommendation, supporting details of your transcript and more that you may need as your career advances.

UW-Madison is obligated by Wisconsin statute to adhere to established retention and disposition schedules for all records created and used by the University in the course of its business (regardless of format), and this obligation extends to UW-Madison’s use of external service providers where this occurs. University records, including teaching and learning data, are managed in accordance with UW-Madison’s legal obligations.

Privacy of student education records are protected by US federal law (FERPA) and these legal protections and requirements are not changed in cases where UW-Madison uses external service providers of digital learning tools.

Who decides which learning tools are used in the courses I'm enrolled in?

UW-Madison provides instructors with access to an array of campus-supported digital tools to support teaching and learning activities. UW-Madison staff evaluate these centrally-supported tools to assure appropriate protections are in place for data privacy, accessibility, cybersecurity and other requirements before these are made available. In all cases, a course’s instructor(s) determines which learning tools (if any) will be used in the course.

If you have additional questions about the teaching and learning data domain or this transparency statement, please contact campus’ teaching and learning data steward.