In today’s world, there are few environments that are unexplored, wild, and free. When I think of the Internet and Web 2.0, it reminds me of the famed Wild West of the 1800s. Potential fortune and dangers lurked just beyond the horizon of the settled eastern United States for anyone brave enough to venture westward. Though we have already settled from coast to coast, Americans are always looking for new horizons to explore and expand into. The Internet today is no exception to these opportunities. Though virtual, the general theme is similar.
In the West, there were tales of lawlessness and of brave, unconventional law enforcement agents willing to give their lives to counter such chaos. Though there are no outlaws or bandits to worry about online, the virtual world still harbors dangers that teachers and institutions must help students learn to avoid. Acceptable use policies are a good step in that direction.
AUPs stand to protect both users and institutions online (Roblyer, 2016). These policies are devised to communicate policies for use of institutional devices and services. They apply to employees and students alike though there may be separate policies for each group. The Consortium for School Networking (2013) states that AUPs exist for two reasons: to protect students online by managing approved behaviors and to provide quality access to online resources and media. Designing the AUP to do both is possible but can be challenging and may require revisions and updates over time.
Because I work at a community college in Texas, I sought out several examples from similar institutions within the state. Other examples are from larger institutions within the United States. Also included are some recommended\sample AUPs from the National Center for Education Statistics.
- Odessa College Use of Computer Resources Policy
- Austin Community College Guidelines for the Appropriate and Responsible Use of Electronic Resources
- Lone Star Community College Library Computer Use Policy
- Brown University Acceptable Use Policy
- Boise State Information Technology Acceptable Use
- NCES Sample AUPs
Consortium for School Networking. (2013). Rethinking acceptable use policies to enable digital learning: A guide for school districts. Retrieved from: http://www.cosn.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Revised%20AUP%20March%202013_final.pdf
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.