Privacy and Antibullying

1. Privacy Guidelines

  • Find out and tell students how the teacher is both able to and intends to monitor the students’ digital footprint on the course, who may see it and what is done with the information.
  • Make sure your privacy is up to date and tell your students about the privacy of the web platforms you choose. For example, Moodle’s Privacy Statement would be good to link to the platform.
  • Do not create a situation where private information has to be revealed. For example, in an online conversation, give quite general or alternative guidelines on how to present content.  Highlight the voluntary nature of sharing content.
  • When the situation permits, the student can take the role of practicing language but not necessarily by using his or her own information.
  • Tell students how their texts, work and (network) conversations will be handled in your online guidance. In other words, inform students when the output will be deleted from the web platform (eg Moodle time is automatically 18 months).
  • Keep up a conversation on privacy. Encourage students to reflect on how privacy is seen, how it can be violated, and in what kind of situations they feel uncomfortable.
  • Give guidance on privacy policies, share course instructions, and create rules.
  • Design and customize the path of information sharing for students: when the student produces (eg) text for reading by all students, when only the teacher / teachers read it and when the text output is anonymous (eg feedback). Go through the different situations with the students.
  • Create trust in the online community: make a ‘drama agreement’ or a so-called ‘Digital agreement’. Trust in the online environment is created by credibility, good course design, teacher interactivity and a sense of security and respect for privacy (Wang, 2014).


Greer, J. Privacy Issues in Online Learning. (retrieved 19.3.2018)

Haavisto, T.; Kivipensas, R.; Tervo, u. (2012) Verkko-opettajan ABC. Ammatillinen opettajakorkeakoulu: Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu. (retrieved 19.3.2018)

Wang, Y. D. (2014). Building student trust in online learning environments. Distance Education, 2014. (retrieved 19.3.2018)

2 Bullying

What is online bullying and how to recognize it

Cyber bullying is a deliberate and repetitive, and often systematic and anonymous offensive behavior in an electronic environment. Although online bullying is commonly associated with being deliberate and repetitive, it can also occur inadvertently or accidentally. Online bullying is bullying in digital media (social media, instant messaging, text messaging, email, and web pages), and can be gossip, nasty messages, mocking, private information sharing, or group isolation. According to researchers, the essential thing in defining online bullying is the perception of the person who feels they are being bullied, which can be taken as a starting point: bullying is what the bullied person feels it is. Research into online bullying has found, among other things, that anonymity, competitive situations and differences in levels of power can help create fertile ground for bullying. Cyber ​​bullying in its various forms is also common in higher education and has been found to have an impact, among other things, on educational success.

( Sources: Mannerheim League for Child Welfare 2019; Betts 2016, Washington, ET 2014; Watts et al. 2019 )

Online Bullying:

Mannerheim League for Child Welfare: Bullying on 5.2.2019.

Materials of the National Board of Education, eg social_media/v interactivity and communication skills

On cyberbullying:

BullyingUK . /

Stop bullying.

Cyber-Mobbing – was ist das?

Cyber-Mobbing – was ist das:

On cyberbullying in higher education:

Washington, ET An Overview of Cyberbullying in Higher Education.

Watts, LK, Wagner, J., Velasquez, B., Behrens, PI Cyberbullying in higher education: A literature review.

Cyberbullying on the College Campus:

Prevent cyber bullying in higher education:

3 Ethical interaction in digital environments

How to guide students towards ethical online communication

Online learning communication is an institutional, goal-oriented interaction. The best way to learn is through smooth and reciprocal interaction. Successful interaction from a teacher requires, for example, guidance and being present with the students.

The ethics of interaction can be viewed from three perspectives: power, knowledge, and communication. The perspective of power takes into account eg freedom of expression and the right to be heard. The ‘knowledge’ perspective includes the accuracy of the information presented and copyright. For example, the following questions can be considered: Is the information correct? Has it been presented comprehensively or simply? Have competing perspectives been taken into account? Is the idea your own or a citation? Does the messenger have the right to share some content? Issues related to the communication perspective, eg on the recipient’s attention and respect and presence. In this perspective, we can include more concretely the message design and, for example, the language used. Questions to consider include how the reciever is taken into account and how the potential impact of communication is taken into account, and how participation is encouraged and the continuity of communication is ensured. More specifically, one can look at the formatting of the message and the grammar, for example, can colloquial use of language be permitted.

(Sources: National Board of Education, Kääntä 2016, Lipari , 2017, Vuopala 2014)


Ethical Communication:

Institute of Communication Ethics:

Sources and references:

Kielijelppi. Kirjoitusviestintä. Haettu 115.3.2019.

Lähde esiin. Opetushallituksen oppimateriaali.

Älä kopsaa! Miten kirjoittaa ja viitata oikein?

Verkkoviestintätaidot ja netiketit:

Opetushallituksen materiaalit, esim.

Netiketti. Suomen Internet-opas.

Opiskelijan digitaidot. Verkkoetiketti:

Online etiquette:

4 Do’s Teacher Instructions


  1. Learn about legislation and university guidelines. Does the university have guidelines on online bullying?
  2. Take into account the possibility of bullying in your teaching! Remember that bullying can be involuntary, and that the experience of coming to bullying is significant.
  3. Since anonymity has been found to enable bullying and by people using their own name reduce it, think about the situations in which anonymity is justified.
  4. In your tasks and instructions, you should also consider cyberbullying. Make your rules visible. For example, plan tasks so that participants cannot be excluded.
  5. Because the presence of a teacher can prevent bullying, consider what digital tools you use in the tasks. Don’t leave students alone. Prepare to intervene in communication if you or your students detect online bullying.

Ethical communication

  1. Make sure your course has the necessary instructions for ethical interaction. Consider what kind of rules you need in each situation. Consider different perspectives (power, knowledge, communication).
  2. Try to create an open, tolerant and respectful atmosphere.
  3. Make sure everyone has a fair chance to participate in the communication. Also, remember privacy.
  4. Consider how you yourself take part, for example, how you correct wrong information, give the opposing opinions, encourage students to answer each other, direct their attention or model good feedback.
  5. Remember your responsibilities as a communicator.