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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Cheat, Lie, and Steal - Technology Makes it Easy: Teaching Students Online Ethics and Following Acceptable Use Policies

Dr Jana P. Beaver.

The onslaught of hack attacks, viruses, software piracy, and online privacy issues are of great concern in our modern digital world. We are constantly worried with corporate, school, and personal security and privacy, along with our ethical standards. One of the many reasons we must deal with security and privacy issues that plague the online world is the fact that many people do not follow any moral or ethical guidelines. Unethical online behavior often starts during the schooling years as students download research papers from the Web, cut and paste from articles and papers to create their own papers, and provide false citations and bibliographies. Early on, teachers need to establish guidelines for utilizing the Web for research papers, reports, and homework without discouraging use of the Internet for research since it is an excellent source.

In attempting to understand why students plagiarize and copy, teachers have found that students do not really know what is right and wrong on the Net. Educators and policy experts believe it is the responsibility of the schools to educate students in this area and provide acceptable use policies (AUPs) for guidelines as students utilize online material at school. They advocated discussing these issues at the junior high, high school, and even the university level. School systems are so absorbed in bringing technology to the classroom that ethics is often neglected. Most schools already have acceptable use policies in place that outline correct online behavior.

Even though the government and industry are attempting to find new ways to stop online acts such as piracy and plagiarism, we must realize that the technology will still continue to be one step ahead and so will the people trying to get around the system. Still, the best way to prevent unethical behavior is to teach, children and adults alike, the correct ways to conduct oneself online by providing clear authorized use policies for students and employees and meaningful examples of how to act. It is only at this point that many people believe the ethics of our online world will improve.

A discussion of web sites and ideas for online ethics curriculums to supplement a school's AUP should be helpful to teachers.


Dr Jana P. Beaver  (United States)
Graduate Student in Instructional Technology
Department of Instructional Leadership
The University of Alabama

Dr. Jana Beaver completed her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from The University of Alabama, USA, in March 2003. She has taught Business Education courses at the high school level for the past five years and adjunct Computer Information Systems courses at the University of North Alabama for the past two years. Her main research focus is on technology integration and implementation/effectiveness of acceptable use policies in the public and private K-12 setting.

  • Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
  • Online Ethics
  • Technology
  • Plagiarism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)