Students should read the rules which are a condition of their being allowed access to the provider’s system.
Some online activities are against the law. Offences in that category are serious and may cause the provider reputational damage or expose it to prosecution..
If there are concerns, the investigator should follow the institution’s procedures for investigating computer misuse
- Is the student suspected of activity in breach of the law or the procedures?
- Is he downloading quite lawfully, but so much material that he is using an unreasonable amount of computing resources?
- Is he or she suspected of using email to plan a sit-in of the Vice-Chancellor’s office?
- What are the institution’s rules about permitting the reading of student emails by the Computing Service?
Punishment or encouraging better behaviour?
Is the purpose of investigating the alleged computer misuse to prevent further misuse or to punish the wrongdoer? A reminder sent to all students about the rules and a warning that a routine search is to be made of activity in the next few weeks may be appropriate.
Did an investigation reveal the need for a review of the provider’s computing regulations? Make sure that is put in hand at once.
Given the speed of development of new modes of internet use, apps and social networking, it is likely to be sensible to review the regulations regularly and frequently.