Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

    An AUP is a written agreement between an organization and its information system users, concerning Acceptable Use Policies, meaning that it details what can and cannot be done while using the district’s information systems.  Common Sense Media states that, “An AUP should protect students while also allowing them access to information systems, such as the Internet and any applicable networks” (2016).  

    According to Magid, it is important to add additional rules to protect children from anyone or anything that is inappropriate or uncomfortable, “I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable. I will never agree to get together with someone I ‘meet’ online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will make sure it is in a public place and I will bring my mother or father along.  I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents” (1998).

    While I was in the Army as a Military Intelligence Officer, my main focus was on security. Security of the building and personnel, motor pool, weapons, classified files and information systems. Therefore, I had a large part in motivating the members of my unit to complete their AUPs, annually.  If it was not completed and forwarded to the correct office within one year of that individual gaining access to the unit’s information systems, then the Soldier would have their account deleted.

    I am not sure if a school district would be that harsh, but with today’s possible abuse of information systems by students or those exploiting children, via sexting, online bullying and harassment, etc. they probably should. This brings me to an important point: An AUP is only effective if it is enforced!

  The Scholastic Librarian Page states that you should have, “Students, parents and your principal commit to these rules by signing the contract. Be sure to post a copy of your AUP near each computer and remember that part of successful implementation of an AUP is making sure that someone in your school is appointed to enforce the AUP rules” (2016).

 Additionally, an AUP should include the following guidelines and be tied to the district’s code of conduct, while also being written in a way that students can understand what it means and what they are agreeing to follow:

  • Instructional philosophies and strategies supported by information systems in the district
  • Educational uses and advantages
  • Responsibilities of the Principal, faculty, parents, and students
  • Code of conduct governing behavior
  • Consequences of violating the AUP
  • Acceptable and unacceptable use
  • A disclaimer absolving the district from responsibility
  • State that access and use is a privilege
  • Compliance with state and national telecommunication rules and regulations
  • Maintain personal safety and privacy
  • Comply with Fair Use Laws and other copyright regulations
  • A signature page on the AUP for teachers, the Principal, parents, and students to sign, indicating their intent to abide by, and enforce, the AUP.

Examples:

  1. Hillbrook School Technology AUP
  2. Campbell Hall Technology Values & AUP
  3. US Army AUP
  4. Joint Base Lewis McChord AUP

 

References

Common Sense Media. (2016). 1-1 Essentials: Acceptable use policies. Common Sense Media.

Education World. (2016). Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (AUP). Education World.

Magid, L.R. (1998). Child safety on the information highway. VA: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Roblyer, M.D. (2016), Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Online tools, uses, and web-based development, pp.173-179. Nova Southeastern University: Pearson.

Scholastic. (2016). Using technology: Why have a technology policy in your school or library?. Scholastic.

 

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5 thoughts on “Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

  1. Hi Gail,

    I liked reading about your experience in the military with AUP’s. How did they “complete” their AUP’s? I like the idea of having to complete something related to the AUP. Like you said, too often AUP’s are written and then ignored for years. I think a yearly review of the AUP would be useful for a school or business including a questions or fill in portion that requires the participant to do more than just sign a paper.

    I also like that you included national and state rules in the AUP. The ones that I saw for public schools usually included this.

    Cindy

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    1. Hello, thanks for the comment. We had to complete our AUPs online, using our ID Card and Pin#. ID Cards have a chip with all of our personal info and if we do not have it, we cannot get onto a computer. If you lose it, good luck doing anything until you get a new one. This made it very painful when we deployed, because many were not in the immediate area of a computer with card reader… I don’t miss that. 🙂

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  2. One of things that it seems is a huge struggle when it comes to educating students in regards to AUPs is the idea of security. When we’re adults, such as military personnel, it’s easy to see how these rules exist to keep us safe while online. This isn’t an easy idea for teens and pre-teens to grasp. In that case, enforcement is even more important because students tend to want to find holes in the system. I wish my school had the same level of enforcement you experienced. I think we’re getting there, but still a long way to go.

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  3. Many of the AUPs I found stated that a violation could lead to loss of access and the loss of a student’s account. My district AUP says the same, but we have never gone that far. Nor do many of them (mine included) detail the consequences for unacceptable use except to state that violations would be dealt with per the Code of Conduct. Common Sense Media (2007) states that an AUP should clearly state how it correlates to the Code of Conduct as well as the consequences for any violations. I think that these should be made clear in the document that is being signed to avoid ambiguity. I also liked the expectation that faculty should also be expected to read and sign the AUP. According to my district administration, new staff hires are asked to read and sign ours, but not the current employees. When I asked why they did not have an answer. I don’t know how one would enforce a document that many staff are unaware of.

    References
    Common Sense Media. (n.d.). 1-1 essentials – Acceptable use policies. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups.

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  4. AMEN!! An AUP is only as good as the enforcement behind it! In the school I sub in the most this is not prevalent. In the past two weeks there have been several issues with students and their mobile devices and bullying. However, not much in the way of consequences were taken. There needs to be set of actions, enforced by ALL administration in the district (since it is usually a district policy), that should take place when one of these situations arise. I’m not opposed by having to ban students for while from technology in school if they can not follow the rules. Great Blog!

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