An acceptable use policy (AUP) is created by the owners or administrators of an institution and/or company internet network. The AUP is a set of rules that users of the specific network must obey. It also presents the recommended guidelines that users should follow for proper use of the network.
I do mostly contract work in my professional life, so this entails having to go through the “new hire” process quite often. This involves having to review the company/institutions AUP and sign off on it. A common theme I have seen across different industries acceptable use policies is they present sections entitled acceptable use, unacceptable use, and violations or sanctions. These areas are important to cover as AUPs help to control improper use of their network. Acceptable use of the network should always be addressed. Is it for educational use only or was it created to use for business purposes only? The section for unacceptable use will probably cover more areas for protection reasons and sanctions/violations should be addressed so users of the network will understand that their actions could have consequences if they do not follow the AUP.
Some rules and guidelines I feel should be included in any institutions AUP include the following:
Purpose of Technology Use
It should be stated in the AUP what the networks primary use should be focused on. A network designed for an educational institution was probably designed solely for educational purposes. Promoting the network should be used in such ways with possibility of consequences may help to protect itself later on.
Every AUP should contain a section that describes the consequences of not following the set guidelines and improper use of the network. Showing users what may happen by not following the rules of policy may help in prevention but it also helps to protect the network from a legal aspect. It will cover misuse of copyright, plagiarism, intellectual property, etc. It should also be stated that any use of the network that involves violating any laws is prohibited and will involve law enforcement.
Privilege and Responsibilities
It should list that all users of the network (student and faculty) shall be professional at all times and are responsible for all actions that occur while they are using the network. Their access to the network is not a right but a privilege, and can be taken away if they do not follow the set policy. Network user’s actions reflect on the image of the institution, that is why all users must use good judgment.
Online Etiquette or Netiquette
Set of guidelines for acceptable behaviors network users must follow. It should address that there is zero tolerance for behaviors such as vulgar, harassing, racist, abusive, threatening, or cyber bullying of any kind.
Online Safety and Security
Users should not give out their personal passwords and avoid ways of compromising the network such as downloading unknown items that may be viruses or allowing invalid users into the network. Users should also avoid over sharing personal information and avoid contact with unknown users. For younger network users you should include more specific safety guidelines that involves the parent’s participation to help teach the users what they should avoid.
Education World (n.d.). Getting started on the internet: Acceptable use policies. Retrieved from https://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml
Webwise. (n.d.). What is an Acceptable Use Policy? Retrieved from https://www.webwise.ie/teachers/what-is-an-acceptable-use-policy-2/
One thought on “EDTECH 541: Acceptable Use Policy”
I like that you talked about netiquette. I did not come across netiquette very often when I looked at different examples of AUPs. I think that in the school setting, having an AUP that addresses netiquette is very important. Most students, even if they are required to sign it, have no idea what is in their AUP. Schools should add those netiquette rules to their AUP and have teachers go through the AUP with students and teach and model those skills. Teaching these 21st-century skills is only going to become more and more important. Great post. I really enjoyed reading it.