EDTECH 541: Acceptable Use Policy

Like many people, I have been required to sign my employer’s Acceptable Use Policy statement, sometimes on a yearly basis.  The nature of human beings dictates that some people can and will use resources poorly.  In response to the poor use of technology, institutions have had to implement policies that dictate the proper use of their resources.

My understanding of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is that it simply contains the rules and/or guidelines for using computers and networks belonging to a certain entity.  In my lifetime, I have signed AUPs for several of my employers stating that I will use their technology responsibly, for business purposes, and I will not use resources that might lead to harm.  Harmful resources include visiting sites that might contain viruses, sexually explicit content, or sites where I can make personal judgment statements that my conflict with those of my employer.

AUPs should contain a section that clearly explains the policy to the user.  This includes highlighting consequences should the policy be violated.  The AUP should link back to the general behavior policy of the school or business to show that technology use is linked to expected behaviors.  Also included in the AUP should be a definition and example of use that is approved and acceptable.  This section should also include examples of what is not acceptable use.  For instance, it is not acceptable to visit pornographic sites or sites that contain foul language and inappropriate images.  It may be unacceptable in some institutions for people to visit sites that allow music and movie streaming or even social media sites.  These rules should be clearly stated so that there is no confusion on the part of the user.

In the interest of writing a AUP for a school, students need to know exactly what they can and cannot do.  The AUP should link technology use to the student code of conduct, list acceptable behaviors, and enumerate the consequences for students who do not follow the AUP.   Also, schools need to keep in mind that “media have no intent…people do and the policy is made for people. Real people with real language that can be understood by parents, students, and teachers” (techlearning.com, 2012).  Students generally respond positively to a positive and friendly tone, so writing the AUP in this manner is advisable.

The AUP should simply advise users about their role in using technology responsibly.  Regardless of who the user is, the tone, word choice, and syntax of the document should be easily followed and friendly.

Here are some Acceptable Use Policies that I have become familiar with:

Boise State University Acceptable Use Policy

Google Gmail Acceptable Use Policy

Flickr Acceptable Use Policy

Arizona Department of Education Acceptable Use Policy

Reference:

Tech & Learning. (2012, June 3). Looking to create a social media or BYOD policy? Look no further. Retrieved from: http://www.techlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67&EntryId=4355

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