Blackboard Acceptable Use Policy

Blackboard is part of the computing services offered by the University and its use is governed by various Rules, Regulations, Guidelines and Codes of Practice. In registering to use the facilities offered by Information Services (IS) you have agreed to abide by the sets of Regulations, which are backed by disciplinary action if they are ignored.

Regulations

The following Information Services Regulations have particular relevance to Blackboard.

Copyright

"3.14 Users must observe the law of copyright and the terms of any licenses for materials they use." (IS Regulations)

Please see the information about digitisation and Blackboard. Advice and information is also available from the University's Information Policies web site or by contacting the Data Protection and Copyright Manager (infocompliance@aber.ac.uk). Staff are advised that using items released under a Creative Commons licence can enable them to use images and other material without violating copyright (https://creativecommons.org/).

Where Information Services believes material may infringe copyright, they reserve the right to remove it where appropriate.

Recordings made via the Panopto system are made available for students and permission to view them is limited to registered students on the relevant module (unless made more widely available by staff). In some cases, recordings can be downloaded for personal academic purposes. Downloaded recordings should not be shared with other students and must not be re-published in any way.

Offensive or Harassing Material

“3.15 Information Services users must not use the University network to create or display information that could give offence to other reasonably-minded people, including material capable of inciting hatred of any particular individual(s) or racial or religious groups. This applies both to textual and graphical material.” (IS Regulations)

AberLearn Blackboard allows access to a number of tools that enable text and media-based communication. Tools include, but are not limited to, discussion boards, Wikis, podcasts, videos and blogs. When using these tools, the following should be borne in mind:

  • Your postings should not be offensive, inflammatory, racist, sexist or abusive in any way.
  • Remember that textual interaction takes place without normal visual/verbal clues which help to interpret meaning.
  • Your posts will be visible to all those registered to a module. This may include other members of staff (including secretarial and administrative staff), as well as students from other seminar/tutorial groups.
  • Your posts will be retained for five years. If your posts are part of an assessment may be archived and retained for future reference.
  • Your posts should be concerned with the topic of the discussion and their tone should be appropriate for this context. Use of obscenities or overly-strong language is strongly discouraged.
  • The laws of Copyright and Data Protection apply. You should not copy other people's posts or information without their express permission. Include citations for any sources used. Information of a personal nature about other people should not be divulged in a posting.
  • If your posting counts towards an assessment, you should take the same precautions against plagiarism as you would in any other piece of written work. You should always acknowledge others' work.

If you are offended by a posting, please consider the following before replying:

  • Will your post contribute positively to an academic discussion?
  • How would you respond if you were in a face-to-face situation (e.g. a seminar)?
  • Would this issue be best dealt with by contacting your tutor rather than the individual concerned?

In the case of offensive posts, you may wish to contact your tutor privately rather than escalate the situation in an online and public environment.

If you feel you need to take your complaint further, please see Information Services' complaints procedure for online material.

Monitoring Use

Student and staff activity within Blackboard can be viewed by the AU Blackboard System Administrators, who may need to view modules in order to answer support queries, particularly in relation to the submission of assignments or access to Blackboard. For example, see the policy on failed submissions http://xwikinexus.aber.ac.uk/xwiki/bin/download/Main/turnitin/failed-submission-policy%20English.pdf). Information may be provided to other AU staff for support purposes.

System Administrators are also able to access the system as a staff or student member – this facility is used to check an individual users’ view of the system in order to provide support and to answer queries.

Log data from Blackboard is used as part of the university’s Learning Analytics project. For more information about the project, including how your data may be used is available at https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/infocompliance/dp/learning-analytics/

Course instructors can and may use the tracking facilities in Blackboard to look at student access to course materials in individual modules. It is recommended that staff inform students that their usage is being monitored, (for example, by using the Blackboard Announcement feature).