Your institution has a duty of care for all its staff and students. It has a responsibility to ensure that any equipment is safe and properly maintained.
Cloud services can present a particular challenge to this; your institution should set out what responsibility it takes for non-institutional technologies and services. Your institution should include online learners in all institutional policies on email, the internet and IT services.
Your institution will have policies and guidelines on health and safety, but these will need expanding to incorporate online learners. Safety of students in online environments is a critical issue affecting all kinds of educational institutions. Your institution will need to clarify how far it is responsible for the input of non-institutional staff or students on open courses.
You will also need to consider how it 'vets' people who contribute to online courses, how it monitors the personal safety of students and how it deals with problems.
Shrewsbury College1 for example redeveloped their induction training for staff and students to enhance safeguarding and e-safety.
Good relationship management is also critical to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff and students.
Our internet safety guide highlights how your institution can plan to keep staff and students safe when participating in online learning. Our podcast discusses the importance of digital capability and wellbeing.
Find out more about what we are doing to support the development of a digital capability framework.
Case studies - developing digital identities
Supporting students to develop strong and credible digital identities can help them be confident and safe learners. This is also a vital attribute to help them become digital professionals. The following examples highlight how institutions help students develop digital identities:
- University of the Arts London pilot programme around professional online identities and supporting workshop
- University of Reading’s ‘This is Me’ website includes workbooks and worksheets, identity stories and workshop materials
- Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Deeside College and Yale College produced a set of module-linked resources for college tutors to use with students around digital culture and identity
- Cardiff University’s think digital site supports staff and students on e-safety, privacy and professional behaviour online.
- 1 Digital life: e - safety and safeguarding - http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/files/2015/09/FE2_1_Curriculum_...