It is also safe to say that technology is here to stay, and the use of the existing as well as future devices and software will increase. Therefore, in order to protect both the students and the school, each educational institution will need to develop an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Internet. Such Policy would then define and explicitly state the DOs and DON'Ts while using the Internet for educational and personal purposes.
EducationWorld defines the AUP for Internet as "one of the most important documents" for schools, production and creating of which will require thorough "research and planning." In addition, it outlines six key elements for an "effective" AUP:
2. a definition section
3. a policy statement
4. an acceptable uses section
5. an acceptable uses section, and
6. a violation/s sanctions section
At its core, according to EducationWorld, the preamble section explains "why the policy is needed, its goals, and the process of developing..." as well as clarifies that the policy also "applies to students online activity." Next, the definition section should define the "key words" such as "the Internet, computer network, and educational purposes" in order to ensure that those who will have to comply with this policy will understand its terms and meaning. The policy statement section clarifies "what computer services will be covered by the AUP and the circumstances under which students can use computer services." Further, the acceptable uses section must clarify for which specific purposes the computer network may be used by students, as well as ensure no misunderstanding between how the policies are define and how those definitions are interpreted. The same goes for the next section, the unacceptable uses section; i.e., provided clear definitions of those uses and ensure single interpretation. Finally, the policy should explicitly state how the violations should be defined, reported, and addressed.
Having identified a model example of an AUP, I then looked at the AUP of Boise State University. Below are the sections as well as the key points of each section:
Source: Acceptable Use Policy of Boise State University
"This policy governs use of Boise State University information technology (IT) resources and applies to University IT resources, both off and on campus, in offices, classrooms, laboratories, hallways, public spaces, residence halls, and University apartments, etc. The purpose of this policy is to maximize the value of University IT resources, permit maximum freedom of use consistent with state and federal law, policies of the State IT Resource Management Council (ITRMC), Idaho State Board of Education, and the University in order to support a productive work environment."
"Boise State University IT resources are intended for official University related purposes, including support of the University’s instruction, research, and service missions, its administrative functions; and, its student and campus life activities. Use of Boise State University IT resources must comply with state and federal laws, executive orders and policies of the State IT Resource Management Council (ITRMC), the Idaho State Board of Education, and Boise State University."
Non-Compliance with this Policy
"Report suspected violations of this policy to the appropriate supervisor, department head, Dean, Vice President or to the Human Resources Department. Depending on the seriousness of an offense, violation of this policy can result in penalties ranging from reprimand, to loss of use, to referral to University authorities for disciplinary action, to criminal prosecution. Use of these resources is a privilege, not a right, and abuse may result in the immediate removal of privileges pending final resolution."
"Students, faculty, staff, visitors, system administrators, supervisors or others who are unsure about how to deal with any aspect of this IT Resource Use policy should contact the Information Security Officer prior to taking any action."
- "Ethics in Government/Conflict of Interest policy (BSU 7080)
- Anti-Harassment (BSU 1070)
- Student Code of Conduct policy (BSU 2020)
- Policies of the Idaho State Board of Education and State IT Resource Management Council (ITRMC), Executive Orders, and other state and federal laws."
"This policy applies to all users of Boise State University IT resources, whether affiliated with the University or not, and to all uses of those resources, whether on campus, off campus, or from remote locations."
"Information Technology (IT) resources refers to an array of products and services that collect, transform, transmit, present, and otherwise make data into usable, meaningful and accessible information. IT resources include but are not limited to: desktop, laptop, and tablet PC’s; handheld devices including but not limited to personal digital assistants, pocket PC’s, and cell phones; e-mail, voicemail, servers, central computers, and networks; network access systems including wireless systems; hard drives and databases; computer software; printers and projectors; telephone equipment and switches including local and long-distance services; camcorders, TVs, VCR’s, and FAX machines; satellite equipment and any other current or future IT resource adopted by the University."
Revision HistoryEffective Date: November 3, 1997
Rev: June 7, 2004
Rev: October 21, 2010 – Draft Web Version
Another example of an AUP for Higher Education is the Policy used by University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
To conclude, this assignment has taught me that while the access to the Internet is readily available in an educational setting, it is important that all the parties involved - such as students, teachers, and school administrators, should be properly educated and informed about how to use it in a safe and proper way. In order to achieve this, every educational institution is required to develop an Acceptable Use Policy for Internet. I also reviewed a general policy to identify the key elements, as well as two specific/real examples of an AUP. The assignment has proven to be very helpful for me as for an online graduate student, a university employee, and a future specialist in the filed of educational technology.
Resources: Boise State AUP: http://oit.boisestate.edu/aboutoit/governance/policies/policy-8000/
Images: Google Images