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Privacy, security and copyright

One aspect of teaching online that a teacher must consider is online security and privacy. It’s important to be aware of online data and privacy laws in your country and the country in which your learners reside. You will need to do some research on this before you start teaching, although there are areas which will be common across all regions. Think about the data you store on your learners and how these learners’ privacy may be affected when you ask them to use your platform or other digital tools.


Look at the activities below. Which do you think are acceptable? Which do you think are not acceptable?

1. A teacher records some lessons for her own professional development. The learners are unaware of this. 2. A teacher gets a teenager’s parent’s permission before logging onto a website outside their normal learning platform.
3. A teacher shares a learner’s work on social media to highlight something interesting. 4. A teacher has a list of their students’ email addresses on a noticeboard behind their desk where they teach their online lessons.

Check your answers.

You can read more about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) here which governs privacy in Europe.

Copyright laws that apply to online teaching are basically the same as those that apply to face-to-face teaching although these may differ from country to country. This means that we shouldn’t use or share copyrighted material that we don’t have permission to use online. You can read more about copyright laws in the ‘See also’ section below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching English Online

Cambridge Assessment English