Reminder: Expectations for responsible use of social media

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Reminder: Expectations for responsible use of social media


Using a smartphone

14 May 2018

Think before you post: the same standards apply online as they do in real life. Social media is a powerful tool and can provide positive opportunities for learning, engaging, connecting and collaborating - when used responsibly.

USC's Social Media Policy - it applies to you

What you publish online can remain public for a long time, even if you delete it. Content can also be replicated and shared beyond the original intended audience and sent to people you never expected to see it, or who may view it out of context.

USC's Social Media - Managerial Policy reinforces the expectation of 'a safe, inclusive, diverse and supportive learning environment', as set out in the USC Student Charter, extends beyond campus to the online environment.

In addition to the policy, all members of the University community are advised to consult the Social Media – General Guidelines. These guidelines provide explicit examples of inappropriate behaviour to avoid.

Where Social Media meets Academic Integrity

Where a student’s activity on social media is suspected of breaching University policy or has the potential to impact on the USC's reputation, the University will act in accordance with the relevant policy. For example:

  • asking a fellow peer to share part of or a whole assessment item (including discussing their approach to the topic and citations/references) via social media;
  • posting on social media with the intention to use or reproduce content from another student, or;
  • publicly discussing/posting about the intent to plagiarise work for University assessment.

These scenarios can all be seen to be proven, identifiable instances of breaching academic conduct if you then use these responses in your own work.

Further information: Academic Integrity: because honesty is the best policy.

'Identifiable private use of social media' - what is it?

It doesn’t just apply when you are using USC student emails or social media services provided by the University - the policy also covers “identifiable private use of social media” which is use of social media in a way that may associate the user with USC and/or may have an impact on the University or on members of the USC community.

If you are responsible for a social media site, channel or group which is associated with USC, you should ensure that there is a prominent disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed on that site or group do not represent USC. Use of the USC logo is not allowed except for on official sites, as per arrangement with the University’s Marketing and External Engagement team.

Think before you post

The same standards of behaviour apply online as they do in 'real life' including laws, University policies and behavioural expectations such as respect, courtesy and professionalism. The same consequences also apply for breaching them, including disciplinary processes. The best question to ask yourself is: “Would I say or do this to the person’s face?” If the answer is “no”, then it’s probably not okay online either.

As a USC student, posts on social media that are rude, offensive, gossip or rumour-spreading, racist, sexist, homophobic, belittling, bullying or harassing, threatening or unwanted by the recipient are clearly inconsistent with the expectations of behaviour set out in the Student Conduct - Governing Policy and Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Bullying and Harassment (Students) - Governing Policy.

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