Sharing student material online

What can we share online? Who owns the material? How safe are we when sharing online?

Introduction: Increasingly, we are all becoming creators, publishers and authors online. More and more schools share their stories in this public forum. But what does this mean for teachers and students? How much should we share of ourselves online? When is it too much information? What about permissions? And what are some of the other issues associated with sharing online?

"Offering global access to student information and images has very serious implications regarding privacy and safety." Netsafe's School Website links This link also provides some important things to consider when developing or updating school websites. For more information on safe ways to post material online, go to Netsafe's link on Posting Stuff Online.

Ministry guidelines

The Ministry of Education has 'Guidelines for Schools for the Online Publication of Student Images and Schoolwork' that deal with some of the ethical issues below. All schools should be familiar with these guidelines before publishing student material online.

Ethical issues

The following discussions have been raised by Dorothy and Russell Burt and were originally posted in Suzie Vesper's Learning Web 2.0 wiki. The responses in this link are from one school's perspective - Point England. The following tasks invite you to share what course of action your school has taken to address some of these issues.

Ethical issue - Ownership of student content online

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Introduction: Ethical issue - Ownership. Teachers often put student created material online. Are they aware of the long-term ramifications of this as discussed in Learning Web 2.0 wiki?

Ministry of Education guidelines: (see the link above for the full document)
The need to consider the Copyright Act 1994
Schools often wish to publish on the Internet original material that students create at school, including artwork and text material such as stories, poems, and other literary work. Material such as this, created by students, attracts protection as copyright works under the Copyright Act 1994. The students each own the copyright in their own artistic and literary works. Schools do not own the copyright in students' schoolwork unless it is legally transferred to the school. Schools cannot publish these works on the Internet without authorisation in the form of a copyright licence from the students. Otherwise, schools are infringing the copyright in that material.

A school may publish a student's work on its website if the student grants the school a licence to do so. A non-exclusive licence would be sufficient for this purpose. The licence may be oral or in writing. The Ministry considers it preferable for all such licences to be in writing. The copyright licence could be incorporated into the same authorisation form that is used to obtain authorisation under the Privacy Act for the use of personal information about the student on the school's website.

Protection of student Intellectual Property
While some rights are guaranteed automatically by copyright law, schools may wish to explore other options such as patenting ideas for students to protect their work if it is considered that the work may have some commercial value. An example of this would be when a student creates something original within a secondary technology classroom. To get more information around this topic, visit


Who owns the account and materials posted online - the individual teacher, school or student?
How long are materials left online once posted? What happens when a student leaves the school?

Reflection: Do you have similar stories to share? Leave a message in the DISCUSSION tab above (this will appear in the thread below).

Ethical issue - Private vs public

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Ethical issue - Private v public. Students leave a digital footprint online. Sometimes this crosses boundaries between school and into our home or private lives. For more resources on Digital footprint, go to Netsafe's digital footprint What are the implications of this as discussed in Learning Web 2.0 wiki?


Do schools have any responsibility in relation to the way students behave in online social networking sites such as Bebo?

Reflection: Is this worth exploring further? Leave a message in the DISCUSSION tab above (this will appear in the thread below).

Ethical issue - Keeping it real

Introduction: Ethical issue - Keeping it real. As discussed in Learning Web 2.0 wiki, how much of ourselves do we share online?
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How do we help students understand the importance of identity and what personas are appropriate to use in online contexts?

Reflection: Netsafe's link to Your Online Profile. How can we teach our students about their digital footprint? Leave a message in the DISCUSSION tab above (this will appear in the thread below).

Ethical issue - Anonymity online

Introduction: Ethical issue - Anonymity online. As discussed in Learning Web 2.0 wiki, are there dangers in being anonymous?
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When is it appropriate to be anonymous and when is it potentially harmful?

Reflection: What are your ideas about this issue? Leave a message in the DISCUSSION tab above (this will appear in the thread below). For more on privacy and anonymity, go to Netsafe's link at Privacy and Anonymity on the Net

Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Anonymity online tessagray tessagray 0 114 Jul 25, 2010 by tessagray tessagray
Keeping it real tessagray tessagray 0 122 Jul 25, 2010 by tessagray tessagray
Private vs public tessagray tessagray 0 105 Jul 25, 2010 by tessagray tessagray
Ownership of student content online tessagray tessagray 0 118 Jul 25, 2010 by tessagray tessagray

Additional resources to consider:

Guidelines for the Online Publication of Student Images and Schoolwork
NZ Ministry of Education. 2000

Privacy Act for schools teacher and BOT
Late last year the privacy commissioner launched new guidelines for schools.