Security and Online learning: to protect or prohibit

Adams, Anne and Blandford, Ann (2003). Security and Online learning: to protect or prohibit. In: Ghaoui, Claude ed. Usability Evaluation of Online Learning Programs. UK: IDEA Publishing, pp. 331–359.



The rapid development of online learning is opening up many new learning opportunities. Yet, with this increased potential come a myriad of risks. Usable security systems are essential as poor usability in security can result in excluding intended users while allowing sensitive data to be released to unacceptable recipients. This chapter presents findings concerned with usability for two security issues: authentication mechanisms and privacy. Usability issues such as memorability, feedback, guidance, context of use and concepts of information ownership are reviewed within various environments. This chapter also reviews the roots of these usability difficulties in the culture clash between the non-user-oriented perspective of security and the information exchange culture of the education domain. Finally an account is provided of how future systems can be developed which maintain security and yet are still usable.

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