Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies are a set of rules that define what is the proper use of technology at their institution or workplace (What is Acceptable Use Policy). Some places require that their users sign an agreement before they can obtain the credentials needed to log into the system. For example, schools like Drew University in Madison, NJ have their Network user Agreement linked directly from the main page of the Acceptable Use Policy page. This is the agreement that all employees are required to sign off on when starting employment with the University. Drew along with other schools such as NYU have security tips listed along with their user agreement. Educating all users this way is a good way to help safeguard all user information.

Copyright is another gray area that is brought up often.  From my experience, I have worked with a lot of educators that think it’s acceptable to use any type of media as long as they are using it in class. This isn’t always the case, universities should have a clear definition of what is an acceptable use of certain media. Marist College has this listed as one of the first items in their policy. It clearly addresses how information should and shouldn’t be obtained for all users. It also refers to complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 which clearly states consequences for violating copyright (Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 2018).

Acceptable use policies can cover a lot of areas with a lot of detail involved. In my opinion, if two major rules are covered and clearly stated, all other points should follow under these two categories, do not break the law and do not break the security of any computer or another user.

It is important that these rules and everything that falls under them are clearly broken down for all students, faculty, and parents (What is Acceptable Use Policy). William Patterson University has their policy broken down into specific sections. This policy covers most if not all scenarios and what are best practices for handling each situation and the consequences for breaking any of these rules. Most AUPs are written in a way that is hard for most users to understand, William Patterson University does a good job of clearly defining each topic for all users, I believe this is the perfect model for an Acceptable Use Policy.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (2018, September 24). Retrieved from

What is acceptable use policy (AUP)? – Definition from (n.d.). Retrieved from

1 thought on “Acceptable Use Policies”

  1. Hi, Nicole. I like that you mentioned where AUPs are commonly found. In finding my own and other institutions’ policies, I had to do a bit of digging. This was made more complicated since each institution titled their policies differently.

    There seems to be several overarching requirements that each institution lists but still a lot of variance in their policies and how they are presented. I wonder if K-12 institutions experience this much variation in their AUPs.

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