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External Educational Technologies for Learning and Teaching Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) Charles Sturt University (the University) recognises that staff and students will increasingly use an ever-expanding range of External Educational Technologies (EETs) to interact with each other. The purpose of this Policy is to provide clarity for staff on their professional and personal use of EETs and to encourage skilful and responsible use.

(2) This Policy applies to all permanent and contractual staff using EETs for teaching purposes to express themselves and communicate online, such as through social media and mobile devices. In addition, all staff need to remain mindful of the University's duty of care and legal obligations and use good judgment about what information appears online, and in what context.

(3) Any discussion of the use of EETs in learning and teaching needs to acknowledge that there is a natural tension between the increasingly popular open and networked design and practice that characterises EETs and informal learning, and the more constrained characteristics of formal education institutions (including their various obligations around risk). Rather than trying to 'control' the use of EETs in the formal educational setting, this Policy approaches this tension by addressing issues at the heart of the debate and encouraging mindful, appropriate choices regarding the use of EETs in learning and teaching.

Scope

(4) This Policy applies to the use of External Educational Technologies (EETs) by teaching staff for their own, or for their students' use as it relates to the University's learning and teaching activities (which include assessment practices).

(5) This Policy does not refer to EETs independently used by students for their learning.

(6) Administrative use of EETs such as for marketing and communication purposes, as well as guidelines for personal use of EETs for students and staff, are covered by other policies of the University including the Computing and Communications Facilities Use Policy.

(7) This Policy in particular applies to learning and teaching work for the University by all staff teaching students of the University, including:

  1. casual and partner staff;
  2. people on secondment from or to another organisation, even if they are only working at the University on a temporary basis;
  3. work related to their colleagues of the University itself, or their colleagues' work; and
  4. staff personal or work-related posts about the University on blogs, podcasts or wikis of others when related to the University's learning and teaching purposes.

(8) While this Policy focuses on teaching staff, students of the University are also responsible for following student-specific guidelines (to be developed) when using EETs as part of a university-supported activity. Staff are responsible for ensuring that, when using EETs in learning and teaching activities, students are informed of the relevant guidelines.

Background and Context

(9) The University through its Curriculum, Learning and Teaching Plan and its Educational Technology Framework, recognises the important role that External Educational Technologies (EETs) play in learning and teaching activities by enabling people not only to communicate and collaborate with each other, but also to create, share and consume content.

(10) These EETs fall into some common categories, including social networks, micro-sharing, social bookmarking, file sharing, communication tools, collaboration tools, blogging, pod/vodcasting and curation tools, learning analytics and adaptive learning technologies (adapted from Hart, 2011).

(11) The rapid growth in the use of EETs, often located outside university-managed environments and 'in the cloud', has occurred alongside the steady growth in blended and online learning in higher education, opening up new possibilities in learning and teaching. Both staff and students are becoming increasingly active communicators, collaborators and creators of content in a range of internal and external virtual communities, challenging traditional roles and practices. Accordingly, the University is committed to engaging effectively with its audiences in a meaningful, accountable, responsive and equitable way.

(12) This Policy was developed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Australia Licence. Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work and to make derivative works, in accordance with the following:

  1. Attribution - you must attribute the work to the original authors and include the following statement "Support for the original work was provided by Charles Sturt University".
  2. Non-commercial - you may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  3. Share Alike - if you alter, transform, or build on this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

(13) The conditions specified under clause 12 may be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

(14) Requests and inquiries concerning these rights should be through the University website.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(15) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. University - means Charles Sturt University.
  2. External Educational Technologies (EETs) - means all online and mobile technologies including software, hardware and networks which allow user participation and interaction and that are not integrated with internal Charles Sturt University systems, and are not centrally supported by Division of Information Technology (DIT) or Division of Student Learning (DSL), and have not been centrally assessed by Division of Information Technology and Division of Student Learning.
  1. EETs include, but are not restricted to - information and communication technologies (computers and networks, mobile devices, video conferencing and multi-media, including audio/visual and online production) and teaching and learning spaces.
  2. Common examples of EETs include:
    1. social networking technologies - for establishing and building online relationships with others e.g. Facebook;
    2. micro-sharing or synchronous chat systems - for sending, receiving and replying to short messages with others, in real-time e.g. Twitter;
    3. social bookmarking - for storing and sharing web links e.g. Delicious, Diigo;
    4. file sharing - for saving and/or sharing files in a wide range of formats e.g. Flickr for photos, YouTube for videos, Slideshare for presentations, Dropbox for documents etc;
    5. communication tools - for communicating in various synchronous and asynchronous ways e.g. Skype;
    6. instant messaging (IM);
    7. collaboration writing tools - wikis, blogs, websites, etc;
    8. participative technologies in the classroom - using free, community-supported network;
    9. collaboration tools - for working collaboratively with others to co-create documents, presentations, mindmaps, etc e.g. Googledocs, Wikispaces, Mindmeister;
    10. blogging - for reading, commenting on, or writing blog posts e.g. Blogger, Wordpress;
    11. pod/vodcasting - for creating or listening to audio (MP3) and video (MP4) files e.g. Audacity; and
    12. curation tools - for collecting, selecting and sharing content e.g. Scoopit, Flipboard (adapted from Hart, 2011).
  3. Social media - (which is a sub-set of EETs) means an "interactive platforms via which individuals and communities create and share user-generated content" (Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P., & Silvestre, B.S., 2011).
  4. Learning Management System (LMS) - means a computer-based platform for online learning and teaching.
  5. Mobile device - means a pocket-sized or handheld computing or communication device typically having a display screen with touch input, keypad or keyboard, such as mobile phones, smart phones, tablets.
  6. Learning Analytics - means the collection and analysis of data about student learning, teaching and the learning environment to allow us to optimise learning for each student.
  7. Adoptive learning technologies - are any learning and teaching tools that utilise learning analytics to adapt the learning content and experiences.
  8. Analytics-enabled learning technologies - refers to a broad category of learning technologies that generate, collect, use and/or provide visualisations of learning analytics.
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Section 3 - Policy

Official Use Principles

(16) When making official use of External Educational Technologies (EETs) staff must act in accordance with the following activities:

  1. People-related:
    1. do not enter into any formal contract for the provision of an EET. Such contract may only be authorised by the approved officer in Division of Information Technology;
    2. do a risk assessment to minimise risks and review the appropriateness of using specific EETs. Note, the Risk Assessment Checklist needs to be completed and provided to the Head of School and the Director - Learning Technologies, Division of Student Learning. Failure to do so may constitute a violation of the Charles Sturt University Code of Conduct - Section 6 (13);
    3. ensure all activities are in line with the University's policies including accessibility standards;
    4. establish rules for engagement / disclaimer before using EETs to create an safe environment for both staff and students, that needs to be continually monitored by teaching staff;
    5. use only their own identity, or an approved official University account;
    6. avoid any statement that might jeopardise the University's reputation;
    7. not post or respond inappropriately to information that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, infringes copyright;
    8. respond to student questions within established times;
    9. indicate their views are not those of the institution if staff are using EETs in their personal life and they identify themselves as a staff member of the University. If they are specifically acting in their role as a person of the University then they must act according to this Policy;
    10. only exercise the authority to speak on areas of expertise when representing the University. Just as in a face-to-face teaching experience, it is important not to allow yourself to be falsely misrepresented as an expert in something. Staff should ensure that personal statements are clearly stated as such; and
    11. create a disclaimer making it clear that their views do not represent those of the University if using EETs in a professional capacity. The following disclaimer could be used: "The views expressed by me when using this technology do not represent the official position of Charles Sturt University (the University)".
  2. Resource-related:
    1. not replace the University Learning Management System (LMS) subject site with EETs as the University subject's official online presence;
    2. not disclose any confidential or secure information unless it is authorised and available in the public domain;
    3. protect personal information entrusted to the University from being shared into the public domain; and
    4. be aware of laws covering libel, defamation, privacy and the protection of intellectual property.
  3. Assessment related:
    1. articulate clearly in the Subject Outline if an assessment activity involves the use of EETs;
    2. ensure that submission of assignments via EETs does not negate the policy on assignment returns; and
    3. have a back-up plan if EETs are used, especially when EETs are used for assessment, in the event that the EET is unavailable.
  4. Technology-related:
    1. only use EETs that are free of charge to students;
    2. adhere to Terms of Use of the EETs, as well as copyright, privacy, defamation, discrimination, harassment and other applicable laws; and
    3. only use analytics-enabled learning technologies in accordance with the Charles Sturt University Learning Analytics Code of Practice.

Evaluation

(17) The University uses a variety of methods to evaluate and assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of External Educational Technologies (EETs). Academic staff and students work together to review the effectiveness of these technologies to support learning that meets the discipline-specific needs of students.

(18) The methods may include:

  1. evaluation of surveys that seek feedback from students;
  2. mapping of course delivery against learning tasks and outcomes;
  3. review of EETs to ensure appropriateness and accessibility; and
  4. evaluation of EETs by analysing student assessment results.

Governance and Responsibilities

(19) The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) (PVC (SL)) has ownership of this Policy.

(20) Faculties, schools and relevant divisions are responsible for the implementation of this Policy and reporting on performance to the appropriate University committees.

(21) The Educational Technology Reference Group will be called on to recommend amendments to this Policy to the endorsing and approving authorities.

(22) Yammer, as a learning space on EETs, is self-governed by the University community, with the Division of Student Learning having oversight of the administration of Yammer.

Relationship with other documentation of the University

(23) This Policy should be used in the context of the following University documents:

  1. New Learning Technologies Approval Policy;
  2. External Educational Technologies Guidelines References;
  3. Academic Communication with Students Policy;
  4. Web Disability Access Action Plan Incorporating the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines;
  5. Disability and Work or Study Adjustment Policy;
  6. Disability - Workplace Adjustment Procedure;
  7. Equal Opportunity Policy;
  8. Indigenous Education Strategy;
  9. Privacy and Confidentiality, especially in the use of records databases, should align with the University's Personal Files Access Policy;
  10. Privacy Management Plan;
  11. Learning Analytics Code of Practice; and
  12. Learning Analytics Consent Statement.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(24) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(25) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the External Educational Technologies for Learning and Teaching Guidelines, which provides advice and helpful hints for staff on the effective use of EETs in learning and teaching to minimise risks and ensure that students have a positive learning experience.

(26) The reference list is available in the associated information for this Policy.