Technology Guidelines

Defines leading practices for secure use of cloud computing applications.

This document provides guidance to members of the Appalachian State University community who wish to use applications and services available on the Web, including social networking applications, file storage, and content hosting. These tools, which often reside on external, complex, dynamic networks, are collectively referred to as "cloud computing."

AsULearn is Appalachian State’s internally hosted, secured, password protected online learning environment. AsULearn is Appalachian's recommended technology for many academic activities, including course management, online file distribution, online discussions, learning activities, online assessments, and holding student course data.

I. Best Practices for Using Cloud Computing

Sensible practices apply when using any Internet applications.

Privacy

  • Communicate the issues, conditions, and risks associated with any tool you choose at the beginning of the academic term, preferably in the syllabus.
  • Instructors should create a private group on a public social network where students participate using their academic profiles. In this way, faculty can ensure distinct boundaries between students' schoolwork and social lives on these sites.
  • Restrict online access to student content as much as possible within the context of your instructional goals. In general, coursework conducted online should always be restricted to members of the course.
  • Try not to include personally identifying information about yourself or your students in content or in profile information online.
  • Always require students to use aliases when creating accounts, particularly if access to student work is public. In order to limit the exposure of ASU resources, faculty and students should not use their ASU password as the login password.

Separate Course and Personal Accounts

  • When setting up accounts on social media or social networks, faculty members should encourage students to create a separate, unique profile specific to academic pursuits, while educators create a private group on a public social network where students participate using their academic profiles. In this way, faculty can ensure distinct boundaries between students' schoolwork and social lives on these sites.
  • For instructors who want to integrate Twitter into their teaching without jeopardizing their own or their students' privacy, there are ways to do it. One way is to create a single Twitter account for their class, and have the students manage the Twitter account. Students can tweet from this class account and play an active role in the social learning environment, but they can't tweet from their own, unique user profiles.

Grading and Assessment

  • Comply with FERPA requirements to protect student privacy. Electronic postings of student work may not contain grades or evaluative comments of the professor. See Appalachian State University FERPA policy statement.
  • Policy on Internet web-based coursework.
  • Students perform the posting rather than the professor.
  • Students are notified prior to or at the time of enrollment that posting of their work is a course requirement.
  • The posted work is available only to members of the class.

Online Etiquette

  • Think before you pin. Don't post any pictures that you wouldn't feel comfortable showing to anyone — including your parents, kids, students, or co-workers.
  • Don't add any comments that can be taken out of context. If you aren't sure, err on the side of caution.

Intellectual Property and Copyright

  • Remember that many AppState images and symbols are owned by the university and not freely available for reproduction.
  • Remember that students, except in a limited number of circumstances, own their work.
  • Ensure that students understand appropriate use of copyrighted materials, particularly when content is publicly available.

II. Relevant Campus Documents and Policies