What are Acceptable Use policies?
Since I teach at a different institution than public schools the term Acceptable Use policies was new to me. After looking into it a little bit I quickly started to see that we also have AUP in our seminaries for using electronic devices. Looking over the various resources I quickly concluded that there are many different opinions of AUP. Overall though, Acceptable Use policies are policies put into place for the use of electronic devices in education. These policies can be addressed as a list of rules but usually they are used as a “contract” type commitment between the user and the school. Here is a example list of the policies that seem to be comparable throughout each of the resources I looked at.
- Use school technologies for school-related activities and research.
- Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that I am expected to follow offline.
- Alert a teacher or other staff member if I see threatening/bullying, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
- Use school technologies at appropriate times, in approved places, for educational pursuits only.
- Cite sources when using online sites and resources for research; ensure there is no copyright infringement.
- Recognize that use of school technologies is a privilege and treat it as such.
- Be cautious to protect the safety of myself and others.
- Help to protect the security of school resources.
The above list of policies are listed in a way that encourages a user’s responsibility to use technology in the way it is intended to be used. In an article by Jim Bosco and Keith Krueger they argue that the key to resolving issues with using technology devices in schools is to teach users responsibility. “Yet, as students move on to upper grades, we believe they need to become responsible, ethical Internet users” (Bosco & Krueger, 2011) I agree with this statement. As many restrictions and policies that can be put into place, the root of the problem is in helping students become responsible with technology use. This can be a daunting task since it is so difficult to restrict technology use without complete banning of devices. I think that having policies will help “fence” users in their technology use however, and still prove useful in helping to develop responsible users. I looked at what a few examples from schools to see what they are doing with AUP to compare and contrast them. These links can be found here:
What should be included in Acceptable Use policies?
Looking over the above examples and comparing each policy I believe each should have these three areas; defining authorized users, defining appropriate use, the users must list, and the users must not list. With these four areas I think a clear concise AUP can be stated and will be easier to enforce and followed. One great way to get started could be by following the outline made by Kate Lepi and can be used as “a jumping-off point to get your own policy started” (Lepi, 2012). With the many changes happening in technology and the availability of devices, I think the only way to combat the misuse of devices is by educating and training responsible device use at younger ages. In this way we can “grow” responsible users rather than expecting them to know how to be responsible with such powerful learning tools
Bosco, J., & Krueger, K. (2011, June 20). Moving from ‘acceptable’ to ‘responsible’ use in a web 2.0 world. Retrieved from http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=217104
Lepi, K. (2012, June 11). Crowdsourced school social media policy now available. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/school-social-media-policy/