Last updated: 25.11.11

E-learning safety 'is forefront of academic online agenda'

Internet security curriculum systems could make significant positive changes to the way e-learning is used both in academic environments and outside of them.

A school in the Ossining School District in Westchester County, New York, is pioneering a new method of keeping online users safe by holding a number of sessions with parents and students to see what types of dangers e-learners should be protected from.

The new internet safety curriculum, which will prevent risky content from being opened by mistake when searching for answers to online resources, has been made possible with support from Ossining MATTERS Education Foundation and a grant from mobile telephone network provider Verizon.

Jennifer Forsberg, assistant director of technology for Ossining schools, said: "The internet and digital media have become invaluable tools for teaching and learning, but it can also be anonymous and invasive, a dangerous ground for children and adults.

"This grant will enable us to build a comprehensive awareness and education program for our faculty, students and their families."

The programme will be headed by 12 Ossining teachers who aim to raise further awareness of educational facilities to come up with similar systems to keep x-rated or dangerous online content away from the e-learning arena, including spam and pop-ups.

In addition to the scheme, Ossining officials will host a series of meetings with parents and members of the community to further raise awareness of potential dangers of the internet and how to protect against them.

According to JISC Legal, a firm specialising in legal guidance for ICT use in education, research and external engagement, e-safety is an area which must be addressed by all in the education industry, including further and higher education.

The company advised that institutions have both a legal and a statutory right to safeguard all their learners and those using computers in the academic facility.