Can one size fit all?
Every school, organization and site where the citizens have access to digital tools must have an Acceptable Use Police (AUP) to protect all of the stakeholders. There is no one size fits all. Consider that ground schools, libraries and community centers must have provisions for the actual equipment on site. They also are concerned about any possible breeches to their system.
Online schools usually do not have those concerns if the students are working from home…unless they provide the equipment to the students. That does occur. Online students in a school setting do need to have an AUP that covers all areas regarding hardware, software and the school’s own system.
Some elements of an AUP are universal. Please read:
One issue concerns how much we put in an AUP. As I read some online, they were so long that I started losing interest. It is the human reaction, and our students and their families are human. It takes care to craft an AUP that sufficiently covers the essential concerns without becoming so wordy that people just stop reading it.
Then, in addition to the AUP, we face the whole world of intellectual property, copyrights and public domain. Intellectual property can be viewed as follows:
So how does a creator lay claim to his or her mental creations? Across the globe, different countries have varying ways of registering a creation that belongs to someone. We have copyrights, patents, trademarks, and even trade secrets. The purpose is, of course, to protect the person who created something from losing control of it. That control includes commerce. If I have an idea and bring it to fruition, I want to be the one to receive money for that idea.
The proliferation of knowledge, texts, and images on the Internet has made it increasingly tempting and easy to co-opt someone else’s property. In my opinion, it requires a new level of vigilance to guard against copyright infringement. I believe that forcing intellectual property into the public domain too quickly has some serious consequences. It certainly could dampen the creative spirit of artists, artisans, writers, entrepreneurs and others in the intellectual domain to be less inclined to share their creations if they will quickly become public domain.
Fair Use is a policy that has grown in the U.S. because of a large number of court cases. Fair Use is not a clear cut policy for every situation, but there are guidelines. For the purposes of criticism, teaching, news, scholarship, and research, portions of the material may be used. This use is further limited using factors like the amount of the work used, whether there is financial gain and how the copyright privileges of the holder might be affected. This is a tricky area for teachers and for students.
Certainly, the public domain opens the doors to the spread of ideas and innovation. It makes the information more affordable. Perhaps the most balanced approach is that of Creative Commons. This non-profit enables the creative to have special licenses to give protection to their work, and make it easier for others to have some use of that work.