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1. UOA Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

UOA Policies can be found at At the time of writing (01.03.10) there is nothing specific to elearning at the UOA.

2. Why Do Policies, Procedures and Guidelines Matter?

Policies, procedures and guidelines matter because staff need to know what they can and can not do. Can staff make use of third party services such as blogs and wikis? What is the University Policy on backing up student work that is hosted by a third party. Who is responsible if assignments hosted on third part service are "lost"?. What are the guidelines around student behavior in online environments. And so on and so forth.

3. Some Guidelines

I am not an expert in the areas discussed below and am just providing some sources of information. I've also noted some issues of concern under the headings of: privacy; intellectual property and student etiquette. For more detailed information you might take a look at the University of Edinburgh guidelines provided under a creative commons license. You can also take a look at the resources section at the bottom of this page.

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pdf.gifUniversity of Edinburgh, GuidelinesForUsingExternalWeb2.0Services-20080801.pdf

3.1 Privacy

In a Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences privacy concerns student privacy and, potentially, patient privacy. Faculty have to be aware that the safest option - and probably a requirement - is that they do not make student information available to third parties providing applications. The reason for this is that the third party providers are often selling the information. There are some easy ways to get around this problem.

  1. Have students register themselves for a service such as a blog or a wiki. Make students aware that they need to read and agree to the terms of service.
  2. Have students use an in-house blog or wiki service. For example, many learning management systems now have blogs and wikis as plug-ins or as integral parts of the functionality.

Patient privacy seems straightforward. Under no circumstances should any data related to patients be posted to the web. End of story.

3.2 Intellectual Property

We're basically talking about copyright. It seems to me that there are three questions with respect to copyright.

  1. The first has to do with the fact that we do not want students (or indeed Faculty) posting copyright material using Web 2.0 tools. We might think that this is just an instance of a particular issue; we should not post copyright material anywhere without first gaining appropriate permission. However, the fact is that Web 2.0 has made it so much easier to publish on the web (including publishing copyrighted material).
  2. The second point is this. Copyright has to do with ownership. What happens if ,for example , a group of students collaboratively write an exceptional piece of work that is turned into a paper or perhaps even a book? Who owns copyright? The answer might seem obvious; all the authors own copyright. However, what happens if one individual claims to have written the bulk of the material. I don't have answer but the question is an interesting one.
  3. The final point concerns what we are going to allow others to do with the work that we (Faculty and Students) produce and make available online. One option is to use a Creative Commons License. There is an example of the use of the Creative Commons License in the Resources section; Edinburgh University have made their guidelines on Web 2.0 available using the Creative Commons License.

WebIcon.gifCreative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons

A description of the types of Creative Commons licenses you can attach to published work.

WebIcon.gifBefore Licensing
Creative Commons

Things to consider before licensing using a Creative Commons designation.

MovieIcon.gifLarry Lessig: How creativity is being strangled by the law
TED Conferences

The founder of Creative Commons and Stanford professor Larry Lessig discusses intellectual property law in the context of growing Web 2.0 trends.

3.3 Student Etiquette

This one is easier answer; we expect certain standards from our students when they are in the classroom. We must expect the same standards from our students when they are online. So, for example, we will not tolerate swearing or sexist remarks or racist remarks. We will not tolerate bad manners, condescending behavior or any form of bullying.

Netiquette is Net Etiquette or the "rules" for behaviour on the Net. The New Zealand Tertiary College provides some guidelines on Netiquette. One could do a lot worse than follow those guidelines. Reading the Wikipedia article on Netiquette will also provide some pointers if you're thinking about engaging your class in a group based wiki activity or if you're going to get your students blogging.


get_adobe.jpgYou will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document. If you don't have Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can download it from

pdf.gifUniversity of Edinburgh, GuidelinesForUsingExternalWeb2.0Services-20080801.pdf

JISC Legal has released a new version of its Code of Practice for the Further and Higher Education Sectors on the Data Protection Act 1998, which contains a section on Web 2.0 Services.

Visit the Creative Commons Website at