Privacy controls for profiles and contact information

In this article we'll look at the various settings that let Staff and individual users control the visibility of personal information. If you like movies, this video on the Populi YouTube channel covers the same material.


First, let's take a look at the general principles behind these privacy settings.

  • In Populi, setting something to Private means that students will not be able to see it, nor will advisors unless they are assigned to that person as advisor. Staff, faculty, and a student's advisor will be able to see information marked Private (depending on your school's general privacy settings—see below). If faculty or staff have private information, likewise, students will not be able to see it, but other staff and faculty users will.
  • As you just read, Private does not mean that nobody can see it. Think of the difference between publishing something in a directory and storing something in a file cabinet. The directory is for public consumption, and it's appropriate to include certain information in there (name, contact info, etc.). The file cabinet is restricted to people who can access it; the information in there needs more privacy safeguards around it (academic records, financial aid figures, etc.).
  • Therefore, Private refers to items that have been restricted to that "file cabinet"—while not publicly-available in the directory, they're still available to school staff and, in some cases, faculty and advisors: anyone who needs that information to do their job.
  • The above is meant to help your school use Populi to comply with FERPA; have a look at this article to learn more.

General privacy settings

Populi Account Administrators have access to a few settings that affect access to private information.

  • In Account > Account Settings > Security, the Make New Contact Information Private By Default setting will set all info added after that point to Private (info added before that time will need to be set manually).
  • And just below that setting, Faculty access to private contact info controls whether faculty and teaching assistants can see private contact info for all students, students they're currently teaching, or none at all.
  • Keep scrolling down on that page to find Make relationships between people and organizations private by default. Private relationships are still visible to staff, faculty, and a student's advisors.

Private profiles

When you set a profile to Private:

  • Students will not be able to navigate to that profile, nor will it come up in search results. Staff and Faculty will be able to see it.
  • That also goes for Staff and Faculty profiles; so if they're set to Private, then students will not be able contact those people through Populi.
  • Only an Academic Admin user can set a profile back to Public.

Staff users can set any profile to Private. On the profile, click and select Make Profile Private. When you do this, the symbol will appear next to the person's name.

Individual users can set their own profile to Private as follows:

  1. Click the little photo/initials in the upper right of the screen and select Settings.
  2. In the General view, select Yes under Make my profile private.
  3. You can also opt to make your birthday private just under that setting; if you opt to make your profile private, that one will be automatically selected.
  4. Click Save Settings.

Contact information

Staff and individual users can set individual contact info items to private. Also, if a profile is private, individual contact items can be set to Public—this comes in handy when a faculty profile is Private but you still want students to be able to contact him from the Course > Syllabus view.

  1. Click next to the contact item you want to change.
  2. Select Make [phone number, email, etc.] Private (or if the profile is Private, select Make Public).
  3. You'll see a lock appear (or disappear) next to the contact item.
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