Canada Association of Tourism Employees

eLearning Safety Protocols: The three Sides Of A Coin

Manage eLearning Security

Convert or not convert learning into eLearning? Initially, online training programs were offered by “choice” rather than “need”. Universities, private training providers, corporate training units and other bodies responsible for training management have chosen to deliver the courses online because online courses seem to have a wider reach and appear cheaper and easier to deliver / tailored to the learner . If necessary, a so-called “hybrid” delivery could be arranged. A common example of such a hybrid approach is the combination of online courses with face-to-face courses within a single learning unit and / or the ability for learners to study from the comfort of their own homes while they are in the training provider’s premises for testing purposes only, Exams and other course activities that are more conveniently held in a traditional classroom than a virtual one.

Given the pandemic, the courses that were previously held in a personal setting have been moved to virtual locations, and for many training providers this sudden shift has been quite dramatic. They struggled to take advantage of the world of eLearning, NOT because the online environment was unsuitable for their courses, but because they were completely unprepared for it and ignored many of the critical aspects of managing and delivering online courses.

Ensuring safe and comfortable virtual learning and teaching environments is arguably one of the most important aspects of online delivery and one of the greatest challenges to be overcome. In this article, I will briefly (to make it easier for readers focus on key points) to discuss issues with setting up eLearning safety protocols in relation to the three main stakeholder groups: students, educators, and administrators (college management) ).

In addition, not only does each of the stakeholders need to be looked after, but a collaborative environment is needed that not only takes into account the requirements for each of the stakeholder groups, but can also allow the governing body to develop an integrated set of security protocols to the satisfaction of all involved Stakeholders as well as in accordance with other required protocols. Successful management of eLearning security protocols requires the development of the following components:

  • Student-centric security protocols
  • Instructor-centric safety protocols
  • Course management centered security protocols
  • Integration points of the security protocols

Student-centric security protocols

Regardless of how “ad hoc” the switch to eLearning takes place, a few important points must be observed before the system is introduced. Traditionally, training providers focus on delivering and evaluating courses and rightly worry about their quality and validity. They also ensure that students are able to register for courses, have access to the learning resources on offer, and use the learning tools available. However, training providers often do not address the so-called “boring and trivial” but very important “logistics” tasks, e.g. B. the security of passwords, registrations and financial details of students. Maintaining the security of student information; and precise handling of course data.

For example, we all find it incredibly frustrating when we get a ton of junk email in our personal Gmail or Yahoo! inboxes, but it’s far more frustrating for students to discover endless commercial messages making their way into their college inboxes. In such cases, poor mailing list management (publication of college mailing lists) becomes transparent.

Another example is when student profiles (visible to other students and trainers) contain information that should at least be optional for the students. For example, while doing a recent review of a client’s eLearning platform, I found that the learner profiles (in the front end so that they were visible to all other learners) contained some sensitive details like age and date of birth!

Instructor-centric safety protocols

Are most of the trainers who offer online courses IT gurus? Far from it! Successful educators should be expected to be subject matter experts rather than technology specialists. It is therefore important to keep security procedures and processes simple and consistent. The instructors usually have to manage a number of security-related tasks, such as: B. Managing assessment settings (showing / hiding grades), managing content access, uploading / deleting content and monitoring course communication. Hence, it is important to establish protocols that enable the “not-so-tech-savvy people” to maintain safety standards that they can religiously follow, based on simple, step-by-step instructions.

While the logs should be comprehensive and well-documented, ideally these logs should also be as short as possible so that all required activities can be easily identified. The implementation of the protocols should be included in new training programs for trainers so that, at the beginning of the semester, trainers are familiar with both the safety guidelines they must follow and the processes required to ensure that all activities run smoothly .

Course management centered security protocols

The flaws in course-management security protocols (or the lack of such protocols in the first place) are the cause of most security mistakes colleges make. Course management involves managing a truly multi-dimensional infrastructure. Some of these dimensions only emerged after COVID started making personal agreements rather problematic. Ensuring the validity of online reviews is a challenging task in itself, especially if the course is meant to be practical and practical rather than theoretical.

If a training provider wants to ensure that the person doing the online assessment does not receive unauthorized assistance during that assessment and is actually the person being assessed (and not a paid scammer), significant action is required. On the other hand, it has been argued that asking learners to conduct lengthy online assessments solely under the supervision of webcams can invade their privacy. Therefore, when processing the assessment tasks, the course administration team must implement process management protocols that both meet security requirements and take data protection issues into account.

While a “security flaw is always a security flaw,” a flaw in the CAC security protocols can be particularly damaging to the training provider’s reputation, as it is always seen not as a flaw by people employed in the organization but as an organization flaw. The logs often contain a number of tasks and activities that need to be managed in collaboration with one another. Hence the implementation of extensive training programs for administrative staff (especially if staff have not been exposed to the online environment in the past). is absolutely necessary!

Integration points of the security protocols

Managing and implementing the three protocols (student-centered safety protocols, teacher-centered safety protocols, and course administration safety protocols) as separate entities creates several discrepancies, even if each of the protocols is followed “religiously”. To avoid scenarios in which the logs send conflicting messages to employees or create a policy vacuum, there should also be a single security policy that contains all three logs in one. This can be done by setting up protocol integration points. Security log integration points are typically set up for tasks and activities that involve multiple stakeholders (such as both the trainers and administrators) and that ensure that the logs are seamlessly integrated with one another.

How big is the challenge?

Obviously, setting up and maintaining eLearning security logs is an ongoing task as the security landscape originally designed requires ongoing updates. The environment (emergence of new teaching and learning technologies, COVID, deregulated eLearning market, etc.) is very fast-moving. Regardless of how comprehensive and well thought out the logs are, they need to be reviewed regularly. This will add up to the cost, and yet regardless of the diligence, there will be some security challenges, including brand new challenges that will come along with the new technologies (surprise! Surprise!). However, the challenge is not only great, it is also essential! No online training provider can work without an eLearning security protocol in place!

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