Carlisle George, an invited speaker at the recent JISC conference
on Legal Issues of Online Learning Environments
Carlisle George, Senior
Lecturer in the School of Computing Science and a Barrister
of Lincoln's Inn was an invited speaker
at the recent JISC conference on Legal Issues of Online Learning
Environments, University of Warwick, 31st May - 2 June 2005.
(Joint Information Systems Committee) - works with further
and higher education by providing strategic guidance, advice
and opportunities to use Information Technology to support
teaching, learning, research and administration.
talk was entitled: Data Protection – Peeking
Over the Study Cubicle… Online!
George’s talk focused on various issues of data protection
law which arise from the use of online learning environments,
highlighting some areas which are likely to give rise to institutional
risk. He discussed technical and organisational measures to
be taken by HE institutions to ensure compliance with the
Data Protection Act 1998. These measures included: having
appropriate contractual agreements with anyone accessing personal
data, training staff on data protection issues, having effective
disclosure policies, having role-based security, and implementing
appropriate network security among others.
also discussed uses of personal data gathered in a Virtual
Learning Environment (VLE) (e.g. for learner guidance and
support, course administration, management etc.) and the practice
of tracking and recording student online activity, pointing
out the potential for invasion of privacy and misuse of such
data. He stressed the legal obligation under the Data Protection
Act 1998 to give appropriate notice to students whenever personal
data are collected from them, especially to inform them of
the purpose(s) for which the data are collected. He noted
that students should also be given the opportunity to consent
or withdraw their consent as appropriate.
George further discussed some relevant legal issues regarding
possible student objections to automated assessment, use of
tracking information and disclosure of personal data to third