I grew up with the Internet. In some ways, the Internet and I grew up together. We were working out our kinks and glitches at the same time. Be that as it may, the great abundance and incredible availability of information was at times overwhelming. Copy and paste, screenshots, chat rooms, social media, and more. It was and is all too easy to be untruthful online, especially since there is no age limit for using the Internet.
An Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP, outlines a school or organization’s expectations for proper behavior while using technology. An AUP should include an institution’s instructional philosophy, as it relates to the Internet; a list of responsibilities for students, teachers, and parents; a code of conduct relating to the Internet; a description of consequences for violators; and a guide as to what the institution considers appropriate and inappropriate behavior online. Additionally, an AUP should include a signature block for students, parents, and teachers to note their understanding and intent to uphold the behaviors outlined in the AUP.
As an English teacher, AUPs are important to my classroom. At the beginning of each year, I explain plagiarism and the importance not to copy someone else’s work. Each year, I find myself going more and more over the top to make an impression upon my students about the importance of crediting sources, paraphrasing, and finding credible sources. However, no matter how I stress the importance, someone tries to take the easy way.
Acceptable Use Policies help to prevent plagiarism in my class, because it is all too easy to copy and paste information from the Internet into a document. AUPs are not just a set of rules, like a code of conduct or academic honest policy; it is an outline of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors that students should learn to function properly online. Perhaps the most important thing about AUPs is that it is not a list of behaviors that one would only practice at school, it is a list of behaviors that students will practice at home, in college, and in the workplace. AUPs provide critical instruction for students, especially as technology continues to change and rule the day.
The following links are four examples of Acceptable Use Policies:
- Westbrook Christian School's BYOD Policy
- Burlington High School Acceptable Use Policy
- Corcoran Joint Unified School Student-Technology Acceptable Use Agreement
- St. Vincent-St. Mary High School Student Acceptable Use Policy for Technology
1-to-1 Essentials - Acceptable Use Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups
Why Have a Technology Policy in Your School or Library? | Librarians. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2017, from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm