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Informed “Privacy” and “Terms of Use” Policies for Online University Courses

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Title:Informed “Privacy” and “Terms of Use” Policies for Online University Courses
Authors:Cohn, Ellen
Watzlaf, Valerie
Author Affiliation:Ellen R. Cohn - University of Pittsburgh
Valerie J.M. Watzlaf - University of Pittsburgh
Date Issued:2013
Abstract:Before gaining access to most course management websites, university students, teaching assistants, and faculty members must first enter a user name and associated password. While log-in and authentication processes imply that a course website and the information contained therein is restricted to registered students, assigned faculty, and teaching assistants, such is not necessarily the case. Obligatory “log-in” safeguards and suggested “log-out” rituals can promote an inflated sense of the privacy and security of online courses. In reality, the elements of course privacy and security are multi-layered, with potential protections and vulnerabilities that may not be fully obvious. It is therefore important that participants in the virtual classroom appreciate the potential protections and limitations to course privacy. Such knowledge can allow students and faculty alike to make informed choices concerning their participation (e.g., the nature of the content they post; performance characteristics such as date/time of participation). This paper will describe how course-specific privacy statements can provide participants with a greater sense of “informed privacy.” The authors will suggest elements for inclusion and instructor practices to minimize risk, including a requirement that all users of a course management website agree to a “Terms of Use” policy
Pages/Duration:8 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections: TCC 2013 Proceedings

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