UW Continuum College Instructor Resources

Use Policy for Third Party Tools and Integrations

Instructors in UW Continuum College are expected and required to adhere to UW rules, as well as Federal and international laws about our students’ privacy rights:

“University data will not be disclosed except to employees or agents of the company with legitimate need in performance of their duties, or specifically identified third parties such as subcontractors.

  • Use, storage, and access to University data be performed with sound professional practices.
  • Safeguards be implemented to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data.”

From: https://itconnect.uw.edu/learn/tools/canvas/canvas-help-for-instructors/canvas-app-center/vendor-tools/


In the case of instructors, “University data” includes students’ names and assignment submissions. This limits or eliminates use of common professional tools, such as Slack, GitHub, and Adobe Creative Cloud, which declined to sign a data agreement with the UW.


Instructors who use third party tools without ensuring that they meet these requirements will be at risk of review and may be subject to penalty.


What does this mean?

These policies are designed to ensure that any data shared with third party systems do so securely and in accordance with University policies to preserve right of ownership, and safeguard confidentiality and integrity, and to protect student rights under FERPA.

We require that any third-party integration or tool used in a class that receives student data (including student names, course dates, or assignment content) to have a contractual agreement with the vendor that includes a signed data security agreement. A standard UW Student Data Privacy Agreement is available here: https://ciso.uw.edu/risk-mgmt/external-data-sharing/


How do I know if a tool is safe to use?

All apps in the UW LMS Vendor Integration Program and on the Canvas App Center Whitelist have been evaluated by UW-IT and are safe to use. UW Continuum College has a list of authorized tools for use in Canvas.

If you have any questions about whether a tool has a contractual agreement and signed data agreement, please contact ctnmhelp@uw.edu


What if a tool I like isn’t available?

UW Continuum College, UW-IT, and the University of Washington provide a wide variety of tools for teaching and learning. Many of these tools replicate the functionality of common professional tools, and are designed specifically with teaching and learning in mind. Reach out to our team to review these options by email (ctnmhelp@uw.edu), in-person (at the UW Tower), or through your Program Manager.

Commonly Requested Tools that are not Authorized

The following tools have declined to sign data security agreements with the University of Washington or Continuum College, and are thereby treated as not FERPA compliant. As such, you are not permitted to make use of these in your courses.

  • Slack
  • GitHub*
  • Adobe Creative Cloud

We continue to engage with the vendors behind these tools. Particularly in the case of GitHub, agreements may be signed in the future.

*Because learning how to use GitHub is a core learning objective in some of our programs, we’ve come up with a clever, but incomplete, workaround for these programs. Programs where GitHub knowledge is a core requirement can inform their students of the privacy concerns, and allow students to use a pseudonym on the GitHub platform.
This solution should be used only with courses where learning GitHub is a core objective, as it still spreads resources across multiple platforms, introduces potential unnecessary work for students, and will require revision once we have an enterprise agreement with GitHub.


How are new tools authorized?

If there is a tool that you wish to use, please email ctmnhelp@uw.edu to determine if this is something that we can enable. Please note that data agreements may take up to 6 months to properly formulate, document, and process. Tools will not be enabled until this process is complete.

If you are developing a program with our Instructional Designers, we will work with you early in the development process to ensure the tools you want to use, or suitable replacements, fit within best educational policies and practices.