I just asked this question on social media, “Does anyone have an electronic system for sending homework to students? I’m thinking something where parents and students can log in and select the homework just for that student without seeing anyone else’s. If so, how does that work for confidentiality?”
Thirty minutes later, I came up with my own solution: I found a way through Google Drive. It may be a bit tedious to set up for a whole caseload, but afterward you can update homework quickly and easily and have an ongoing record (we know how SLPs love those).
Step 1: Create a folder and name it (I chose “2015 Speech/Language Homework”).
Step 2: Share the folder under the setting “Anyone with the link can view” (don’t worry, we’ll make it so they can’t see other students’ info).
Step 3: Copy the “Sharable URL”
Step 4: Add Google Docs or Google Spreadsheets or even other sub-folders to your main folder (1 for each student) and name them accordingly. (I’m naming mine by each student’s name since no one else will see them and it will make them easier for me to find when updating homework).
Step 5: Go into the share settings for that individual document/sheet/folder and change the permissions to “OFF – only certain people.”
Step 6: Go to “Advanced Settings” and add JUST the student/parent that the document/sub-folder is for!!!
Step 7: Post the Sharable URL to your website or e-mail signature for easy access for parents and students (and for yourself when you want to update and assign new homework). You will be able to see ALL of the students’ folders/docs form that link but each parent and student will only be able to see their own files since you removed all of the others from their permissions while leaving access for that one family on that one file.
(Further notes on the options: If you chose to do a Doc, you may want to do “Insert Comment” to leave info on new assignments, that way the student will receive an e-mail when something new is there. If you do a spreadsheet instead, you can show the students how to set up “notification rules” through the tools menu to get an e-mail when you update it. The reason I suggested doing a whole folder is in case you want to upload other files and practice materials for specific students and house them there. Otherwise, you could just upload all practice materials to the main homework folder for all to see. You can leave links to specific files in each student’s document).
Remember, Google for Education is FERPA compliant. (I’ve already spoken to my district’s attorneys about it). ASHA says that in the school system, we only need to worry about being FERPA compliant, not HIPAA compliant (click here for more details). However, if you get your own Google for business account, you can easily become HIPAA compliant by signing a BAA with Google.