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ERIC Number: EJ807673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Learning with Security
Jokela, Paivi; Karlsudd, Peter
Journal of Information Technology Education, v6 p291-309 2007
The current higher education, both distance education and traditional campus courses, relies more and more on modern information and communication technologies (ICT). The use of computer systems and networks results in a wide range of security issues that must be dealt with in order to create a safe learning environment. In this work, we study the security status within Swedish Net University, where several universities collaborate in order to offer ICT supported higher education distance courses. The total ICT-security is defined as a combination of computer security and information security, and the focus in this work is on the information security. The four main components of the information security that are used in the study are: confidentiality, integrity, availability and accountability. The data gathering was made in two steps: first preliminary interviews then the main questionnaire. The interview respondents were a small number of students, teachers and ICT-experts at various universities, and the results of this preliminary study were then used to complete the questionnaire. The main questionnaire was sent to approximately 747 students, 106 lecturers and 40 ICT-pedagogues. The answers were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, due to a relatively low response rate, we must point out that the conclusions made are based on these limited results, and are therefore not necessarily generally applicable within the distance education. The results show that both teachers and students involved in distance education consider that they have relatively good basic competence regarding the use of various ICT-resources. In addition, they consider that the computers and network connections they are using have adequate technical standard. However, the respondents also express a need for more information and training in various areas that are directly connected to information security issues. What is more, both students and teachers require that adequate computer support is constantly available. It is especially important to pay attention to the differences that have been observed between the sexes. The studied material indicates that female students may feel unsure concerning the handling of technical equipment, and that they want more instruction in the use of computers as well as more computer support. Several respondents have not developed procedures for backing up files on a regular basis. There seems also to be some uncertainty concerning which measures should be taken in order to protect computer systems from viruses and also what should be done if the computer is infected. Many teachers consider that the risk for cheating, especially for plagiarism, is greater in the distance education that in campus courses. These teachers also spend more time to prevent this problem in distance courses, and may have special procedures in order to detect plagiarism. Even if several security issues are indicated, most of the respondents consider that the general ICT-security in distance education has a relatively high standard. This may be a sign of some discrepancy between the users' knowledge and their actual behavior when they use the computer systems. However, there is a definite belief in the future when it comes to web-based higher education. Hopefully, reinforced user instruction and computer support can lead to both female and male distance students feeling more confident in modern technology and also to better match between the users' theoretical knowledge and their actions. (Contains 2 figures and 8 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden