Guidelines and procedures for in-person programs, such as registering your program, obtaining background checks, and reporting of abuse and neglect, remain the same for online programs. Please review the below guidance for additional considerations when hosting a program for minors online.
Setting up an Online Program
Online programs for minors should utilize MIT-approved software, such as Zoom, WebEx or Teams, for audio/video communication, and Slack or Piazza for collaboration. DLCs that plan to host minors virtually should check with their IS&T designated representative for guidance regarding the pros and cons of each proposed platform.
For ASA programs hosting minors, please check with SOLE prior to the use of any other software, solution or platform. For all other student-run programs seeking to use software or other social engagement platforms to host minors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance.
Consider the following factors when determining the suitability of a software/platform that has not already been approved by MIT to host minors:
- Security features – Can access be restricted by password? Invitation only? Participation requires authentication process? Recording controlled by program leader only.
- Moderator Controls – What are they? Do they include the ability to mute/unmute participants? Prevent or enable participants from engaging in private chats and/or screen sharing using the platform? Is there an ability to log conversations?
IS&T has created resource pages for Zoom and Webex, including troubleshooting and FAQs. Zoom has also created some guidance for the K-12 environment. In addition, the following general guidelines should be followed while using a collaboration platform or learning resource:
- Program administrators (MIT faculty, staff, or students) must use their MIT credentials at all times.
- Program administrators should have the ability to set up private servers/rooms/spaces for program participants.
- The private server/room/space should be accessible through a verified MIT email account. Only program participants and facilitators should have access to the server/room/space.
- At least one DLC administrator should have access to the private server/room/space (outside of program participants and facilitators).
- Private messaging options should be turned off on participant accounts.
- Parents/guardians of minors should be able to see content and interactions.
- Train multiple program administrators to be prepared to close the session in the event of inappropriate participant or mentor behavior or Zoom-bombing. Limit access to participation by password, invitation and/or authentication, and have policies in place to discourage sharing such information.
- Provide guidance prior to the inception of any program of expectations of all program staff and each participant, to include conduct and keeping access information confidential (i.e., MIT program staff, parents, and participants only)
Other Resources for Setting Up Online Programs:
Safe Contact and Privacy Rules
In addition to the guidance provided here, the following safety rules apply to online programs for minors:
- Avoid one-to-one virtual contact with a minor.
- MIT recommends that at least two adults are online during live programs.
- No private direct messaging, texting, chatting, or personal emails between a minor and a program supervisor/online teacher is permissible. Group messages and posts are acceptable and must be viewable by all participants.
- Minors may not engage in activities involving hazardous materials (chemical, biological, radiation) at home during an online program. For questions about whether a proposed activity can be done safely, including whether mechanical tools or appliances can be used, please contact email@example.com.
- Parents/guardians must be provided with access information to all virtual meetings and programs.
- Review the DOs and DON’Ts of Working with Minors for reminders on behavioral expectations.
Recording of Online Sessions
Recording online sessions with minors is strongly discouraged, unless it is being done for future training purposes. In such cases, program administrators must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a consent and recording release form, which must be signed by a parent/guardian of each participating minor. Any recordings must be saved to the cloud and not to any personal computer or device.
Participants who need to request disability accommodations should contact their program administrator.