Full privacy evaluation | See all
Thumbnail
Updated December 19, 2018

Blackboard Learn

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Data are shared for advertising or marketing.
  • Behavioral or contextual advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Third parties can use data to create ad profiles, data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
The criteria for "Use with Caution" are narrowly focused around data uses related to creating profiles that aren't related to any educational purpose, and using data to target ads. We include both first party (ie, the vendor that builds the service) and third party (any company given access by the vendor) data use. It's worth highlighting that using data to profile students violates multiple state laws, and in some cases also violates federal law.

A service can be designated "Use with Caution" for either a lack of transparency around data use -- which creates the potential for profiling and behavioral targeting -- or for clearly stating that they use data to target advertisements and/or create profiles. As with any application being considered for use within schools, school and/or district staff should review the privacy policies and terms of service to ensure that they meet the legal and practical requirements of their state laws and school policies.

As with the "Not Recommended" criteria, a "Use with Caution" designation is NOT a sign that a vendor is necessarily doing anything unethical or illegal. It is a sign that, based on publicly available policies,  we do not have adequate guarantees that data will not be used by first or third parties to create non-educational profiles or to target behavioral ads.
Use with Caution
Full evaluation
58
Overall Scoreinfo-bubble

This overall score represents how the service addressed all our evaluation questions. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive policies.

Overview

Blackboard Learn provides instructors with the ability to provide students with course documents, online assignments and assessments, individual grades, and other learning materials in a single environment. Blackboard learn term's state users can provide comments in discussion forums and chats and can send messages to trusted peers and instructors. The terms state Blackboard will not sell or rent users' data. However, Blackboard may share users' personal information with re-sellers and other partners, who may use users' personal information for third-party marketing.

Blackboard’s terms state they employ a variety of physical, administrative, and technological safeguards designed to protect users' personal information against loss, misuse, and unauthorized access or disclosure. Lastly, Blackboard's terms state their collection, use, and sharing of student data is governed by their contracts with the educational institutions, the provisions of FERPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), and other applicable laws that relate to the collection and use of personal information of students.

Blackboard Learn can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and the Microsoft Store. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Blackboard Learn’s website, iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and the Microsoft Store. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Cookie Statement, Privacy Center, Privacy Shield, and Security Policy. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Read the Common Sense standard privacy report (SPR)arrow
The standard privacy report (SPR) displays the most important privacy practices from a product’s polices in a single easy-to-read outline. The report displays an alert when a particular privacy practice is risky, unclear, or not evaluated. This alert indicates more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.
SafetyPromoting responsible use
arrow
Evaluating safety takes into consideration best practices that protect a user's physical and emotional health. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to safety.
29

Blackboard learn term's state users can provide comments in discussion forums and chats and can send messages to trusted peers and instructors. However, if users use Behind the Blackboard, Blackboard Community, or other websites with logins, the terms state Blackboard may use the contact details they provide to communicate with those users and to let users communicate with other Blackboard untrusted users. In addition, any content that users submit, post, or display may be viewed by other users, and the terms state Blackboard may monitor or control user content, but does not take any responsibility for posting of user content.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
arrow
Evaluating privacy takes into consideration best practices that protect the disclosure of a user's personal information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to privacy.
59

Blackboard’s terms state they care about privacy and believe that privacy is a fundamental right for all individuals. The terms state Blackboard collects device, usage, and personal information from users that depends on the type of service used which can include: first name, last name, email address, student ID, account credentials, courses a student is enrolled in, credentials, audio and video recordings, and any other information including personal information users provide. In addition, Blackboard’s terms state they may collect data about student’s responses to quizzes, assignments and other course work, and files they submit or upload as well as their activity and actions within Blackboard.

The terms state Blackboard will not sell or rent users' data. However, Blackboard may share users' personal information with re-sellers and other partners, who may use users' person information for third-party marketing. The terms also indicate educational institutions may enable cloud profiles or social profiles, which allow students to connect their Blackboard profile with their Facebook and Twitter account and use information from those accounts for their Blackboard profile. Educators should be aware these social media companies may recognize users and collect information about their visit to Blackboard, and they may use cookies or other tracking technologies.

Blackboard’s terms specify they may use third-party cookies from services such as Google AdWords, Facebook Business, LinkedIn Campaign Manager, and Twitter Ads to show users relevant ads. Blackboard also allows third-parties to access users’ personal information to make sure they see relevant ads and campaigns on other websites. Blackboard receives information from third-party services about which of their ads or campaigns users have interacted with. In addition, Blackboard's terms state they may display advertising and other advanced features through Google Analytics, such as Remarking with Google Analytics, Google Display Network Impression Reporting, the DoubleClick Campaign Manager Integration, and Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting. The terms state these third party advertising tools allow Blackboard to collect information about users’ visits in order to serve them targeted advertisements based on their browsing history and interests on other websites across the Internet, and on other devices they may use. However, the terms clearly state Blackboard does not use or disclose personal or usage information about students that they collect for behavioral targeting of advertisements to students.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
arrow
Evaluating security takes into consideration best practices that protect the integrity and confidentiality of a user's data. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to security.
68

Blackboard’s terms state they employ a variety of physical, administrative, and technological safeguards designed to protect users' personal information against loss, misuse, and unauthorized access or disclosure. The terms also state Blackboard has dedicated information security programs and works hard to continuously enhance their technical and operational security measures. In addition, Blackboard’s terms specify they have implemented appropriate physical, electronic and managerial procedures to help safeguard and secure personal information from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration or destruction. Blackboard's terms further state they use firewalls, data use, and access limitations for their personnel and vendors and physical access controls to their facilities.

Lastly, Blackboard’s terms state personal information will be accessed only by those who have a need to know to provide the products and services to educational institutions and improve them. For instance, the terms state Blackboard's technical teams and client support teams may have access to user's information when they set up the product for a educational institution or when software or database changes are required for support and maintenance purposes.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
arrow
Evaluating compliance takes into consideration best practices of companies that collect personal information from children or students and the legal obligations for the privacy and security of that information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to compliance.
61

The terms state Blackboard provides educational products and services to schools and other educational institutions. Through the provision of these products and services, Blackboard's terms state they collect personally identifiable information from or about students. Blackboard's terms specify that they consider student data to be strictly confidential and in general do not use student data for any purpose other than improving and providing our products and services to the educational institution or on the educational institution’s behalf. In addition, Blackboard's terms state their collection, use, and sharing of student data is governed by their contracts with the educational institutions, the provisions of FERPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), and other applicable laws that relate to the collection and use of personal information of students. Lastly, because contracts may exist between Blackboard and educational institutions, if users have any questions about reviewing, modifying, or deleting personal information of a student, they should contact their educational institution directly.

About Privacy Evaluations

The privacy evaluations have been designed with the help and support of a consortium of schools and districts across the United States. These evaluations are designed to streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria are freely available and will remain freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and the information security primer we released. Vendors are encouraged to use our questions and the information security primer to self-evaluate. You can also learn more about our evaluation process.

Please be in touch with any questions or feedback.