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Understanding the Differences Between Acceptable Use and Responsible Use

Understanding the Differences Between Acceptable Use and Responsible Use

Author: Kathleen Johnson

This lesson will build an understanding of the similarities and differences between acceptable use and responsible use policies for students

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Understanding the Differences Between Acceptable Use & Responsible Use

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Today, we are going to be looking at acceptable use and responsible use policies in the classroom, specifically focusing on understanding the difference between those two policies. For today's lesson, I've chosen a quote by John D. Rockefeller, which states, "Every right implies a responsibility," which really keys in on what we're discussing today.

By the end of the lesson today, you will be able to distinguish between acceptable use and responsible use. First, I want to go ahead and define AUP and RUP. First, let's look at those Acceptable Use Policies.

Acceptable Use Policies are a set of rules that students or users acknowledge that restricts the way the computer, software, and various web sites that are visited can be used. Now, these policies are intended to protect the school from legal action. But they're also intended to protect the user from mature or unacceptable content.

This is different from what we call RUP, or Responsible Use Policies. Responsible Use Policies are a set of rules that outlines what the computer user is responsible for, such as following local, state, or federal regulations and school rules. Now in turn, the school then promises if you follow those, to maintain the security of the system. And users recognize that their access can be terminated if they don't follow that Responsible Use Policy.

What I'd like to do next is really focusing in on comparing Acceptable Use Policies and Responsible Use Policies. We're going to use a little T-chart to show some of the similarities and differences between these two policies. So first of all, Acceptable Use Policies sets high filters and restrictions, whereas Responsible Use Policies adhere to CIPA, but they tend to be much more relaxed in nature.

So in those Acceptable Use Policies, those filters might restrict access to many sites that could be beneficial to teaching and learning, but that also have the potentiality of mature content on them. This would be things like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, et cetera. Whereas Responsible Use Policies follow the requirements that have been set out by the Children's Internet Protection Act, but they tend to be a little more relaxed in nature.

Acceptable Use Policies focus in on placing the ownership and responsibility on the district, the school, and the teacher, whereas Responsible Use Policy places that ownership on students and teachers specifically. So it's the user as opposed to the provider.

Now, Acceptable Use Policies really focus and act by blocking information at the site level, whereas Responsible Use Policies really act by blocking at the specific word level. What this means is that Responsible Use Policies do allow access to sites that could have educational content. But those sites might also have mature content as well. So really there, it focuses in on you can have access to the site, but students will need to make sure that they are navigating away from the more inappropriate or mature content and towards the educational elements.

Acceptable Use Policies are usually signed off on by students, parents, and guests, whereas Responsible Use Policies really make it more difficult to block all of that content on guest devices. So if students and parents and guests are signing off on those Acceptable Use Policies, that really makes it easy to ensure that we are blocking information from them. And if someone accesses it, it's much easier to point down, whereas with just a Responsible Use Policy, because we are allowing in some of those web sites that might contain both mature content as well as educational, it's very difficult to block all of that information, especially on devices that other people bring in.

Now, finally, it's important to know that both Acceptable Use Policies and Responsible Use Policies require instruction in cybersafety and digital citizenship. However, because Responsible Use Policies do allow a little more leeway for the material that's going to be accessed by students and guests, it's really important to note that there is a lot more instruction needed on being a good digital citizen and following those elements of cybersafety when using a Responsible Use Policy as opposed to an Acceptable Use Policy.

Now, there are a couple of things that you are going to want to consider when we look at the differences between Acceptable Use Policies and Responsible Use Policies. The first is that in a BYOD environment, a Bring-Your-Own-Device environment, it is difficult to monitor devices that are brought in by students and staff. So in that case, a Responsible Use Policy is a much more practical approach, if that's the situation that your school is in.

It's also important to consider that in a classroom with students under the age of 13, an Acceptable Use Policy, one that is a little more restrictive, may provide greater protection. However, districts do have the ability to define restrictions by location. And for some schools, 13 is going to fall right in between what the ages are at that school. So it's possible that this could be the best use for you, but it might not.

Finally, you must remember that students do not have the benefit of an AUP or an RUP outside of the walls of the school. So whichever policy you implement, it's exceptionally important to explicitly teach cybersafety and digital citizenship to all of your students, because they are going to be encountering these digital elements outside of your classroom as well. Now that we have finished today's lesson, you should be able to really distinguish between Acceptable Use and Responsible Use when it comes to the policies that will be implemented by your district or your school.

Now, I would like to take just a moment for reflection. Now that you've learned all about the differences between Acceptable Use and Responsible Use, what do you think would be the first step in implementing these two various areas and explaining the differences between the two in your classroom teaching? Feel free to pause the video for a moment to think about your answer to this question.

And now, it's your turn to apply what we've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful to you. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link also includes a brief description so that you can easily target the resources you want. That's all we have for right now. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.

Notes on "Understanding the Differences Between Acceptable Use & Responsible Use"

(00:00-00:27) Intro

(00:28-00:37) Objectives

(00:38-01:49) AUP & RUP Definitions

(01:50-05:12) Comparing AUP & RUP

(05:13-06:43) Things to Consider

(06:44-06:58) Review

(06:59-07:46) Reflection

Additional Resources

Archive for the ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ Category

Tom Whitby argues that schools should move away from the restrictive filters of acceptable use policies. He suggests, "Teaching kids responsible use is the best form of control. It is lifelong skill. Mobile devices provide a gateway to more relevant content than could ever be placed in a textbook" This article offers a practical look at the need to update policies as well as insights into why older generations may not understand this need.