Can I use TXST Zoom for personal business or to host meetings external to university business?
As Zoom is a flexible platform that has now become a popular everyday infrastructure component, questions regarding the use of TXST’s Zoom licensing for personal use or on behalf of a professional organization have arisen, and the following guidance is provided:
The policy on Appropriate Use of Information Resources addresses this in the following two sections.
Pursuant to UPPS 04.01.07 §04.03, “Texas State provides information resources for the purpose of accomplishing tasks related to the university’s mission. Texas State expects its faculty and staff to employ these resources as their first and preferred option for satisfying their business, research, or instructional needs…..The university may restrict the use of or access to its information resources due to specific research, teaching, or other purposes in keeping with Texas State’s mission. Texas State’s computer information resources are not a public forum.”
Incidental personal use is addressed in §04.06. “Consistent with the provisions of UPPS No. 04.01.02, Information Resources Identity and Access Management, and other applicable policies and statutes, employees of Texas State are allowed to use Texas State’s information resources in the performance of their job duties. State law and university policy permit incidental personal use of Texas State information resources, subject to review and reasonable restrictions by the employee’s supervisor. Such personal use must not violate any applicable policies and statutes, must not interfere with the employee’s job performance, and must not result in any additional expense to the university.”
Information resources, such as Zoom, are intended to serve the mission of the institution and their purpose is not for personal usage in general. Certain incidental usage is acceptable. An example of incidental usage might include periodically checking a website or email that is a of a personal nature during your duties.
Using Zoom to host an event for a professional organization is a gray area and requires approval. If that event is deemed by you and your supervisor to benefit the institution, then it may be acceptable. Notwithstanding, you are responsible for your usage of Texas State information resources, and should an incident occur, you would be responsible for any consequences or repercussions. For example, a Zoom bombing incident that receives negative media attention and subsequently tarnishes the reputation of TXST due to usage of the TXST Zoom instance is the responsibility of the employee. Therefore, such an event could have a negative impact on employment status.
Providing a kinetic example, one wouldn’t borrow a university vehicle to pick up a personal load of lumber or new home appliance from Home Depot. Information resources can be treated in much the same way when gauging what incidental usage is appropriate. A quick Zoom chat with a personal or professional colleague would be acceptable. Conversely, hosting regularly scheduled large meetings for personal purposes would be going over the line.
Something to note, any usage of TXST information resources are subject to public information act requests under Texas law. An excellent best practice is to establish a clear separation between personal and work life in your digital and online accounts. Employees should not use their TXST email or other services for personal business, and in the same vein they should never use personal accounts for university business. Establishing a clear line of delineation ensures one’s personal affairs do not impact the employer and vice versa.
If you have questions about appropriate use of Zoom or other Texas State University services, please contact the Information Security Office.
Does federal law protect class content posted online?
When you make a recording of a course meeting or student created course content and post it online, you may be revealing information about students that is protected by a federal law known as FERPA. Under FERPA, students have the right to control the disclosure of personally identifiable information from their education record, including still or video images and voice recordings.
While you may not be worried about sharing information about yourself, you should be mindful of students' privacy rights when creating videos for your course. To ensure compliance with FERPA, you must not share (outside of class) videos that contain personally identifiable information of students unless you have secured written consent from the student.
If you have questions about privacy rights under FERPA, contact the Registrar's Office.
Is privacy a concern if I'm posting video online?
Privacy is absolutely a concern. To ensure compliance with FERPA, you must not share (outside of class) videos that contain personally identifiable information of students unless you have secured written consent from the student. While you will obtain consent from your students to record them, it's also important to protect their privacy as much as possible. Of course, you should also consider your own privacy when posting video online, just as you avoid over-sharing on social media. See the privacy settings for popular hosting sites below.
Protecting your privacy and the privacy of your students in a university setting allows students to learn and grow as a professional in their future field of choice without having to worry about possible negative consequences. Restricting access to the content and deleting the content at the end of the semester are 2 methods, documented below, that can help you protect your privacy.
This EDUCAUSE article explains more about why keeping your student information private is important.
Below are links to support pages for privacy settings on popular video hosting sites:
Do you want to delete your video at the end of the semester? Set up a calendar reminder in Outlook to delete your video.
While working with Zoom, I experienced some complications. Are there workarounds available to solve these issues?
I heard that Zoom has a digital sign feature. Is this service currently offered at Texas State?
The Division of Information Technology is currently investigating Zoom’s digital sign offering from a security, accessibility, usability, and hardware migration cost standpoint. If we are able to make this service available, we will communicate with current Texas State OnSign customers and with faculty and staff as a whole.