Computer Resources Usage Policy

The dynamic growth of networking, both on campus and around the world, creates specific requirements regarding how we communicate through and use the network. The intent of this policy is to promote responsible and ethical behaviour in an environment that is productive and safe for all users of Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) computer resources.

Application

This policy, and related policies and procedures, apply to all faculty, staff and students of NSCC, as well as visitors and guests of the College who use the College's computer or network resources no matter where physically located.

This policy is intended to complement, not detract, from:

Terms of Access

Computer resources are a valuable tool to support the College's mission and conduct College business:

  • NSCC actively monitors and records all computer usage and reserves the right to do so.
  • NSCC does not guarantee the privacy of any user engaged in Internet or computer related activities including the sending and receiving of email.
  • All users must ensure that NSCC computing resources are used in an appropriate, ethical and lawful manner.
  • Existing NSCC policies, which apply to employee and student conduct in other circumstances, also apply to conduct in relation to computer facilities.
  • NSCC reserves the right to limit, restrict or extend computing privileges and access to its computing and communications resources, including all information stored therein.
  • Faculty, in the interest of maintaining a classroom environment conducive to learning, may impose additional restrictions on computer usage in the classroom or lab in which they are teaching.

As a condition of access to computing resources, users agree to use the computing resources solely for authorized academic, administrative purposes, and/or incidental, non-commercial personal use (adhering to this and related policies) and agrees to assume responsibility for any unauthorized use, misuse or illegal use of these computing resources.

Responsible Use

Below are examples intended to clarify what constitutes both proper and improper use of computing resources. If you have any questions about appropriate use or behaviour please contact your Human Resources Consultant in the case of employees or, in the case of students, a representative from Student Services.

Examples of Appropriate Use

  • Users of the Internet should identify themselves honestly, accurately, and completely, including NSCC affiliation and function when required.
  • Users shall use their own account, email, and user id. NSCC Computer user ids and passwords must not be shared with another person.
  • Any material (class assignments, projects, essays, papers etc) submitted to NSCC Faculty via e mail must be submitted from the individual student's NSCC e mail account. Material from other sources will not be accepted.
  • Users will respect others while in the computer labs and keep the noise level down.
  • Authorized use includes, but is not limited to: College purposes associated with teaching and learning support; college approved research; community service(s) related to the College; administration of the College; outside professional activities tied to positions or NSCC's mission.
  • The information infrastructure may be used to share information, collaborate with colleagues both at the College and other institutions and extend communications into the business community to assist in meeting College objectives.

Illegal and Unacceptable Use

All users must ensure that NSCC computing resources are used in an effective, lawful manner and must conduct themselves according to the high standard of professional ethics and behaviour consistent NSCC values, policies and practice. In addition, it is expected that users shall not aid or abet any other person's violation of the same.

Examples of Illegal Uses

  • uttering threats (by computer or telephone);
  • child pornography;
  • distribution of pornographic materials to minors;
  • betting, pyramid schemes; and
  • copyright infringement

Examples of Unacceptable Use

  • Use of derogatory or inflammatory messages about a person's race, color, age, sex, disability, religion, national origin, physical attributes, or sexual orientation. Such activity may also constitute a violation of the Criminal Code and/or Human Rights Act and NSCC's Discrimination and Harassment policy.
  • Use of NSCC computer facilities or Internet resources to access, create, send, intentionally receive, download, archive, store, distribute, edit, or record materials that may be considered:
    • offensive, obscene, sexually explicit or pornographic;
    • harassing, abusive, libellous, slanderous, fraudulent, defamatory or otherwise toxic;
    • violent, or promoting violence against persons
  • Use of NSCC computer facilities or Internet resources to:
    • Download or distribute pirated software or data.
    • Copy, download, or distribute copyrighted materials such as e-mail, text files, program files, image files, database files, video, sound files, or music files.
    • Intentionally propagate any virus, or other malicious code.
    • Play computer games or use the system for recreational or non-college use during class time and/or when computer labs, library and learning commons computers are in use; or in a way that has an adverse impact on job performance or time allotted to performance of work
    • Knowingly disable or overload any computer system or network.
    • Circumvent any system intended to protect the privacy or security of another user.
    • Install unauthorized software on any workstation or computer network.
    • Use NSCC's email system for mass mailings unless authorized by a Systems Administrator or senior College management.
    • Use NSCC computer systems for personal financial benefit.

Consequences of Policy Violation

Limitations and/or restrictions imposed by the College on the use of computing resources are designed to ensure that they are used for legal purposes, that they are employed only for uses that are acceptable to the College, and to protect their availability, security, and integrity.

Any attempt to violate the provisions of this policy or related policies, regardless of the success or failure of the attempt, may result in disciplinary action. Such actions may include the full range of disciplinary action available to the College. Penalties may be carried forward for students returning the following year.

Furthermore, any attempt to circumvent local, provincial, federal or international laws through the use of College owned computing resources may result in litigation against the offender by the appropriate authorities. If such an event should occur, the College will fully comply with the authorities to provide any information necessary for the litigation process.

Notes

This Policy is not intended to set forth an exhaustive list relating College computing resources or appropriate and inappropriate use of such resources but rather provide the foundation for responsible computing use.

Computer & Network Resources

This includes the use of any computing or networking device owned by the College, as well as any device connecting to the network owned by the College. This also includes the use of any College issued electronic identity (such as a computer account or password).

Additional Policies

Policies and agreements in place within NSCC include, but are not limited to, "Academic Policies", "Student Code of Conduct" (PDF 73.9KB), "Discrimination and Harassment"(PDF 59.7KB), "Conflict of Interest" (PDF 11KB), "Conflict of Commitment", policies on intellectual property protection, privacy, misuse of NSCC Assets and Resources, policies related to information, data security or any other code of conduct or policy deemed applicable to student and employee conduct.

Monitoring

Although most users strive for acceptable and responsible use of computer resources, inexperienced users may unintentionally engage in behaviours that violate the principles and/or guidelines of responsible and acceptable use. Questions regarding the appropriateness of specific behaviours should be directed to: your Human Resources Consultant in the case of employees or persons engaged in work on behalf of NSCC or, in the case of students, a representative from Student Services.

The College may authorize access to monitor the activity and accounts of individual users of College computer resources, including individual login sessions and communications, without notice, when (a) the user has given permission or has voluntarily made them accessible to the public, for example by posting to a publicly-accessible web page or providing publicly- accessible network services; (b) it reasonably appears necessary to do so to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of the College or other computing resources or to protect the college from liability, which includes random audits/monitoring of the system and accounts; (c) there is reasonable cause to believe that the user has violated, or is violating, this policy; (d) an account appears to be engaged in unusual or unusually excessive activity, as indicated by the monitoring of general activity, usage patterns and/or loss of productivity; or (e) it is otherwise required or permitted by law.

If there is reasonable cause to believe any of the above is occurring, a Human Resources Consultant (for employees) or a representative from Student Services (for students), working with the area manager and IT, will determine the appropriate course of action and whether it will include monitoring the activity and accounts of an individual user.

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