What faculty and students say about Glean

Insights on how Glean benefits both faculty and students across different institutions.

Faculty FAQs

Which students have access to the Glean software?

The institution administers access to students that would like to use Glean. The number of students that can sign up to Glean depends on the number of seats purchased by your institution as part of your subscription package. 

How is access to Glean managed?

Using the in-platform Glean Admin Portal, a Glean Administrator manages your institution's Glean account. The Glean Administrator is a designated employee at your institution, and you might even have multiple Glean Administrators depending on your preference. The Glean Administrator can invite a student to sign up to Glean by entering their institution email address into the Admin Portal. The student will then receive an email with a link to create their Glean user account.

Using the Glean Admin Portal, Glean Administrators are able to:

  • invite a student to create a user account

  • invite a fellow colleague to become a Glean Administrator

  • withdraw an invite to a student or Glean Administrator

  • expire a user's access 

  • reactivate a user's access if it has expired

Students don't have access to the Glean Admin Portal, only Glean Administrators do.

💡To find out about the Glean Admin Portal see our Help Center articles here

What roles and permissions are there in the Glean platform?
  • User role = end user access to the Glean platform

  • Glean Administrator role = can invite and manage students and other Admins (there's only one Admin role). 


💡A Glean Administrator also has standard end user access to Glean (and this doesn't count towards your subscription seat allowance). 

What usage data can a Glean Administrator see / access in the Glean Admin Portal
  • Status which is one of the following: Invite Sent / Invite Expired / Signed Up. For more information about status click here

  • Status history which means: a record of a user's different statuses. For example, if a student's access expired and the Glean Administrator needed to reactivate access, they'd be able to see the date they reactivated the user. 

  • Last seen which means: User was last active in Glean X number of days / weeks / months / years ago.

What usage data can Glean see/access
  • Status and status history

  • Last seen

  • Number of Events a user has created, including how many recordings have been made

  • Number of Events that a user has transcribed

Glean also uses third party analytics providers (Pendo and Amplitude), which give more detailed information about user activity e.g. which in-app features are engaged with the most, what buttons users are clicking on within the platform, etc. Analytics are pseudo-anonymized (only a user ID is displayed). Glean does have the ability to view analytics data on an individual user level, however, this is rare and would really only be done in the event that a user encountered a technical issue or bug and needed support. Typically, analytics reports are aggregated. Analytics are essential for Glean to improve and further develop the software and service for its users.  

Which other third parties do you work with?

Glean's list of current subcontractors can be viewed on our Security page here. These third parties process customer and end user data because they are central to Glean being able to deliver its software and service. Glean vets third party providers carefully and ensures that it has the appropriate data protection and data security contractual provisions in place with each one. 

Where and how is an end user's content stored?

Content created by a Glean user, like audio recordings and electronic notes, are stored locally on the user's device and then uploaded to Glean's cloud storage. The data is saved locally so that a user is able to record and edit their content while offline. Providing users with the ability to work offline was critical to the design of the Glean platform; we understand that notetaking shouldn't be dependent on having an internet connection. 

Secure local storage:
Data saved locally is stored on hard disk in a Glean-readable format.

Secure cloud storage:
Data is uploaded to Glean's cloud storage, which is hosted across Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud platforms in UK data centers. At this time, Glean does not provide data storage in any other territory. 

More important stuff: 

Audio data is stored encrypted at rest and is only transmitted over encrypted channels between the browser and Glean's cloud servers.

When online, the browser uploads data to the cloud. An end user's audio data is sent directly to AWS S3 servers and all other data (such as electronic notes and audio visualization data) is sent to Glean's database via the backend.

All data is uploaded using a secure connection (HTTPS), and is saved in IndexedDB (a database built into the browser) so that Glean works offline.

Audio files are captured in binary long objects, or blobs as we call them, and are encrypted and stored on AWS S3. The blobs are decrypted on retrieval and reassembled on the end user's browser.

Communication between the browser and AWS S3 (for upload and download) is done via pre-signed URLs. The URLs are only valid for the upload of a particular blob (they are only valid for a single destination address in AWS S3), and are valid for a limited time.

Aside those mentioned above, does Glean disclose usage and analytics data to third parties?

No. This data is collected and used for internal purposes only, to understand how the software is being used and to improve and develop it further. Glean may sometimes publish completely anonymized, aggregated statistics on its website or in promotional materials such as, "X number of recordings were made in Glean this year across its entire user base". Glean would never sell customer or user data. 

Do you have a product privacy policy?

Yes, our Privacy Policy is here

Can audio recorded in Glean be shared and/or exported?

Glean doesn't provide users with the option to share or download their audio recordings outside of the Glean platform. If your institution has a Glean for Education subscription, you'll have the option to enable the send a copy feature in your customer account (which means that all users will have this feature enabled). Send a copy allows a user to send a copy of their Event to another user within the institution. Additionally, the option can be selected to allow users to send a copy of an Event to an individual outside of the institution (that person will also need to have a Glean account to access it). An Event that has been shared using send a copy can only be accessed in the Glean platform. The send a copy feature is disabled by default in your customer account, so your institution can decide whether or not to enable it.

💡To find out more about send a copy see our Help Center article here. 

Can Glean access a user's recordings in the platform?

Glean respects a user's privacy, and for this reason operates a strict access control policy. This means that Glean would only access an individual's recordings in specific circumstances where there is a clear need to do so and in line with the Privacy Policy. Access is limited to specific Glean staff that have the authority to access the data in accordance with their job role. Examples include: to provide technical support at the user's request, and to diagnose and fix any errors and/or bugs that Glean identifies. Any actions that are taken in a user's account are logged for auditing purposes. 

Where can I learn more about Glean's data security practices?

On our security page, here

I am concerned about my intellectual property being recorded and captured in the software - would Glean claim ownership?

Glean's position is that the legality of content captured in the platform (audio recordings, slides etc.,) does not change just because it's in there. So, if the content legally belonged to the user, or, to a faculty member before being captured in Glean, this remains the case when it's in the platform. Ownership and intellectual property rights never transfer to Glean. Glean makes this clear in the Service Agreement that it enters into with the user during the account sign-up process, which can be viewed here (see Section 6 Your Data). Ultimately, the user is responsible for the content they capture in the Glean platform, which is why it's important that a user and their institution work together to make sure that an individual's use of Glean complies with any recording and/or intellectual property policies that the institution has in place.

If you are concerned that a user's use of Glean has breached your institution's internal policy, our advice would be to reach out to the specific user directly and work with them to resolve the issue. A user does have the ability to delete Events (you can read more about Event deletion below). 

I have general concerns about being recorded in class.

Glean's take on this (and please note, this isn't legal advice) is that, if an individual wants to record in class to aid their learning, they will. This means recording may take place covertly without your knowledge, for example, by using a mobile phone's recording functionality. With recording technologies becoming more and more popular in the classroom, especially post-COVID 19, Glean is proud to provide a comprehensive learning solution that includes the option to record in addition to upload files, input and mark-up notes, search and add images from the web, and transcribe content. Glean provides an institution with a secure and robust tool that meets the needs of its learners whilst also offering peace of mind to teaching staff, because it has been vetted and approved by the institution itself - there's nothing sneaky going on! Further, Glean enters into separate contractual agreements with the customer (the institution) and the user. The agreements set out the obligations and responsibilities of each party. Glean encourages staff and students to work together to make sure the software is used in line with the specific rules and policies of their institution, so that everyone is on the same page. 

Can audio recordings be deleted?

Yes, a user has the ability to delete Events from their individual Glean account. After a user deletes their Event, it will no longer take up any space on their device and it won't be available to them (this is a 'soft' deletion). Glean retains deleted Events and their data for 90 days on its database so that anything that was mistakenly deleted can be recovered. When the 90 days is up, the deleted Event and associated data are gone for good. Glean also maintains backups of user data to aid in disaster recovery scenarios (e.g. data corruption caused by a bug, an issue with Glean's database hosting service, or a ransomware attack). The longest Glean retains any such backup is 90 days - and again, it's then gone for good.

💡The institution and/or the Glean Administrator isn't able to access an individual's Glean account and delete Events, since this would violate the terms of the end user Service Agreement and Privacy Policy that Glean has entered into with the user - a user's account is private to them. 

What's unique about the Glean software that isn't offered by other providers?

For legal reasons we can't claim that Glean is unique, since the learning technology space is constantly evolving. What we can confidently say is that Glean has been designed specifically to improve learning outcomes - and it shows: 95% of students said using Glean helped improve how they learn. Rather than focus simply on productivity and efficiency like many other products, Glean is built around a learning method that scaffolds the study process, allowing users to capture everything from class, organize the information, refine it, and apply it to their studies. It’s a process built on learning best practice and years of research and feedback. Glean combines slides, audio, transcripts, images, definitions and more in an engaging study space to ensure students get the most out of class content. 

I'm concerned that allowing recording devices into my classroom may prevent open discussion with students

We recognise that it may not be desirable to have students recording during all classroom discussions, especially those where students may share personal experiences. This is one of the reasons why we developed the pause feature in Glean, so students can quickly stop the recording when necessary and then resume it easily when appropriate. To help set expectations with students, some institutions even build into their recording policy that students must comply with pausing the recording in certain situations, like more sensitive classroom discussions.

The use of laptops and devices to take notes can be distracting for students

We hear you - more tech usually means more distractions. In fact, reducing distractions in the classroom was one of our key goals when designing Glean. That’s why Glean has a very simple user interface that brings audio, slides, transcripts and more into a single workspace so students can focus on their learning, and also includes features such as Lighting Mode that further reduces the number of buttons the student has to use.

Who can access the transcription feature in Glean?

Transcription is available to institutions with an active Glean for Education subscription, and the convert to text button will be automatically enabled in the platform when a user logs in.

What is involved in the transcribing process?

When an end user clicks the convert to text button within their Glean Event, the audio recording is sent securely to Glean's third party provider, VoiceGain, via a speech-to-text application programming interface (API). 

VoiceGain generates a transcript of the recording and sends this back to Glean’s servers. The end user will then see the transcript in their Event.

Within 7 days of generating the transcript, VoiceGain permanently deletes both the audio recording and the transcript from its servers.

VoiceGain uses Google Cloud servers located in the US.

How do you improve the accuracy of transcription?

It’s important that Glean continually improves the quality and accuracy of transcripts in order to provide users with the best possible experience. In particular, Glean needs to make sure that the transcription feature accounts for the specific acoustic environments of live and in-person classes.

To achieve this, a random sample of up to 5% of total audio recordings submitted for transcription each month, are processed into a training dataset by VoiceGain.

These recordings are used to train an AI Speech-to-Text model (there is no human involvement). In order for the training to be effective, the model needs to be trained on different types of audio; this could be new accents, new words, new types of background noise, etc.

How are training samples randomized?

A category of audio recordings is decided, such as screen or microphone. Files are then chosen randomly based on their randomly assigned numerical ID. 

Do you perform accuracy benchmarking?

Yes. 10-15% of the audio files in the training dataset are randomly selected for performance benchmarking. Performance benchmarking means comparing the accuracy of VoiceGain’s service with that of other transcription providers. 

What is involved in the accuracy benchmarking process?

1. A five-minute clip from each randomly selected audio recording is uploaded to one of VoiceGain’s third parties, Rev or Atexto. This is done via a web-based portal. 

2. Human transcribers listen to the five-minute audio clip (via the web portal) and use it to generate a new transcript. 

3. The third party notifies VoiceGain via the web portal that the new transcript is available. 

4. VoiceGain downloads the transcript to its server and then generates an accuracy benchmark.

5. The audio file and transcript are then permanently deleted from VoiceGain’s servers and the third party's servers.

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