Terms of Use

TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute Wikis, Blogs and Learning Management Systems – Guidelines

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this guideline is to provide a consistent approach for staff choosing to create and use wikis, blogs and learning management systems in the Institute, to protect the rights of students, staff and the organisation in relation to privacy and security of information.

In this context wikis and blogs at Sydney Institute are used for collaboration between:
  • Teachers and students – assignment information, class projects etc
  • Staff to staff– project collaboration, research, committees etc (ensuring that they are not used as an alternative to the corporate Intranet)
  • Staff to external stakeholders (within or outside of TAFE)

Each of the above has different implications for privacy, corporate information and child protection. Consideration must be given to these issues when choosing to use a wiki or a blog.

The principles discussed in these guidelines apply equally to the use of other social software tools.


A wiki is:
  • a web based service which enables online collaboration of web pages. Each user can edit and save changes to web page content using a web browser. They have emerged as a powerful tool for facilitating mass collaborative authoring, wikipedia being the most famous example.

A blog is:
  • a form of web diary or journal in which an author publishes to other like- minded bloggers within a networked online community sometimes referred to as the Blogosphere.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is:
  • a collection of software tools in one platform e.g. student management, forums, blogs, calendar, content management.

Related Policies

There are a range of documents, including State and Federal Acts, that impact on the use of blogs, wikis, other social software tools and learning management systems
Teachers, administrative staff and students should ensure that their use of these tools complies with policies, procedures or principles detailed in the following:

Business rules:

Wikis and blogs may be appropriate for use as a tool at Sydney Institute when:
  • Collaboration is needed to achieve an outcome such as a committee working together or students / staff working on a project together, or when ideas are needed from a variety of people around an issue.
  • Content is not appropriate for a public, promotional website - such as ephemeral information within a group that will change or is for a closed community that a wiki supports.
  • Content is not corporate content that should sit on the Intranet and needs version control, quality assurance, and to be in a central repository such as PaCK for all to access from one entry point. Teaching material however, may be posted on a blog / wiki and does need version control to be compliant with audit requirements
  • The content is of an educational nature
  • The content is not appropriate for a Learning Management System such as Moodle or Janison’s Toolbox – These may link to a wiki for support material and collaboration and visa versa, but should not be used interchangeably.

Teacher / Student wikis and blogs:

Teachers need to take the following issues into consideration when setting up blogs or wikis for communication/ collaboration with students:

  • Public or private?
    • When a blog / wiki is created, the owner is able to determine whether the blog or wiki is accessible on the open web, or closed to a select group of people. The following options normally exist:
      • Private – closed to the world and only able to be edited and viewed by members
      • Protected – open to the world but only able to be edited by members
      • Public – open to the world and able to be edited by anyone.
    • If “protected” or “open”, teachers needs to ensure that no private information should be posted that may compromise the privacy of the individual such as personal information or assessment results.

  • Intellectual property, privacy, copyright and plagiarism
    • Teachers need to ensure that the intellectual property and privacy of users is not compromised and that content does not breach any other policies or laws, such as copyright or defamation, including sensitive corporate information, or violation of licensing agreements (such as online databases, chapters from books, journal articles etc.) Furthermore, students need to understand issues related to privacy, plagiarism, codes of conduct and responsible publishing (See Terms of Use link on the front page of all wikis).

  • Dealing with offensive or incorrect contributions
    • If the content is in conflict with local or organisational policy / procedure, or it breaches copyright, anti-discrimination, or other legislation, or the information is in any way prejudicial or incorrect or misinformed, any member of the group should have the right and responsibility to request that the owner delete / edit the information with group’s consent. Sydney Institute reserves the right to remove any inappropriate content in line with the above.

  • Child protection issues
    • Teachers need to ensure that learners under 18 years of age are not exposed to any content that is inappropriate, offensive or illegal. Furthermore, they must maintain their duty of care for these learners, particularly with regard to privacy and child protection that may be compromised through interactions with third-parties.

  • Staff /staff wikis and blogs:
    • Public or private?
    • Where a wiki or blog is created for staff to work collaboratively to develop documents with corporate content, then the wiki site must be private. This will protect the individual and the organisation from having corporate and/or personal information available for viewing on the open web.

  • Intellectual property etc.
    • See above for teachers/students.

Issues for all wikis and blogs in the Institute:

  • Understanding of terms of use
    • All new wikis and blogs created by Sydney Institute staff need to have a link on the front page to the Terms of Use. The Terms of Use will provide advice about expected behaviour and standards to protect both students, staff and the organisation.

  • Standardised look and feel
    • Wikis and blogs should all have a corporate “skin” to ensure a professional look and feel. Those wikis already existing prior to the corporate skin being applied need to apply the standardised template to their wiki to bring it in line with the rest of the Institute.

  • Preservation of Information
    • Once the collaboration is no longer required e.g. a project has reached completion, if the information contained is to become corporate information, it needs to be moved to a more formal, stable environment such as the Internet, Intranet or in the appropriate record keeping facility so that it can be accessed by all staff.

  • Overall ownership of site:
    • The responsibility for decisions around membership, open or closed, monitoring content etc, rests with the Sydney Institute eLearning Reference Group.

  • Naming conventions
    • Wikis and blogs should be named with the course name and industry area eg http:// makingcakeshospitality.sydneyinstitute.wikispaces.net/

  • Archiving
    • Once the wiki or blog ceases to be used, a decision must be made by the owner to archive the content. Learning Management System content will be archived by backing up course interactions by Learning and Innovation.