Online delivery policy and guidance for staff


While new technologies are enhancing communication and creativity some are also challenging the definitions and boundaries of the adult education environment. As active participants in a digital world, our broad curriculum and our learners’ personal goals requires regular use of a variety of IT systems and communication tools. Our aim is to provide learners and staff with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become safe and responsible users of technology.

Policy implementation for all Learn Devon staff

  • Remote learning operates within the quality frameworks of the 2019 Education Inspection Framework, and the Matrix Standards.
  • The expectations of teaching, learning and assessment within Learn Devon apply to all online and/or blended learning. These include but are not limited to:
  • Learning materials are of a high standard, relate to the intended course learning outcomes and are inclusive, current, and accessible to distance learners.
  • Where possible complex ideas are presented in more than one format and/or approach to support different learning styles.
  • Activities consolidate learning and contribute to learners’ wider skills development. Further relevant reading and development opportunities are signposted.
  • Learner work is assessed by tutors with detailed feedback provided.
  • Learners are guided by tutors to the right learning resources to improve their work.
  • Learners’ personal details are not stored by staff on a personal home computer. Details should be kept in a secure location on Learn Devon and/or DCC (Devon County Council)
  • Tutors ensure they have suitable evidence for RARPA (Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement) / accreditation and audit purposes.
  • Learning materials used, including pictures and videos, comply with copyright restrictions and has explicit learner consent.
  • Learners are signposted to the online End of Course Evaluation form and/or ILP (Individual Learning Plan) for completion.
  • The curriculum team oversee the consistency and quality of learning being delivered and/or work being set.
  • Staff are supported through workforce development opportunities to develop the skills needed to deliver remote learning effectively and safely


For all learners and staff teaching on Learn Devon programmes.

This policy relates to all members of the Learn Devon community who have access to and are users of IT systems and resources and applies to all electronic devices and services provided.

This document applies to the use of computers, mobile phones, and related equipment, regardless of ownership, where they:

  • are used on premises for which Learn Devon has responsibility.


  • use an Internet or other network connection for which Learn Devon has responsibility.

For security reasons, use of the internet and e-mail services provided by Learn Devon may be recorded by Learn Devon. This may include details of sites visited and addresses of emails sent. However, Learn Devon will not monitor details entered into secure web pages, or the content of e-mails provided by another Internet Service Provider.

Privacy and confidentiality: Because equipment may be used by several different people, Learn Devon cannot guarantee the privacy of personal data, including e-mails. It is the responsibility of users to ensure they correctly log out of any websites, e-mail packages or other programs before leaving the computer.


The aims of this policy are to ensure that:

  • staff and learners are responsible users and stay safe while using the internet and other communications technologies for educational, personal, and recreational use
  • our ICT systems and users are protected from accidental or deliberate misuse that could put the security of the systems and users at risk
  • staff and learners are protected from potential risk in their use of ICT in their everyday work
  • staff are aware of the Learn Devon’s expectations and respect the privacy of all members of the organisation

Acceptable Use

Learn Devon learners and staff may use Learn Devon equipment for legitimate activities related to a learning programme run by or for Learn Devon. These activities must be within the law and must not be prohibited elsewhere in this policy.

Prevent Duty

There is a duty on authorities under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

As with other online harms, every tutor needs to be aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups.

Learn Devon has a vital role to play in protecting its learners from the risks of extremism and radicalisation. Keeping learners safe from risks posed by terrorist exploitation of social media will be approached in the same way as safeguarding learners from any other abuse.

If you have a concern for the safety of a learner at risk of radicalisation, you should follow Learn Devon’s safeguarding procedures, including discussing your concerns with Learn Devon’s designated safeguarding advocates.

Prohibited Use


You must not:

  • View, download, store, print, create, access, or in any way circulate, items considered indecent, offensive, pornographic, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or illegal.
  • Download or install software of any sort on Learn Devon computers or equipment without the prior agreement of your line manager.
  • Download or circulate data including software, music, and videos, in contravention of copyright and intellectual property laws.
  • Knowingly introduce or circulate a virus or other form of malware or attempt to access other computers or networks illegally or without permission.
  • Damage or attempt to damage any equipment or facilities.
  • Store or post anywhere, images or videos of individuals, without their prior consent.
  • Store or post anywhere, images or videos that include children or vulnerable individuals, where they can be identified by name, however indirectly that might be obtained.
  • Knowingly pose as someone else, including signing-in, or attempting to sign-in, to any account held by anyone else.
  • Disclose to anyone else any password given to you by Learn Devon.

E-mail, social media, and Office 365 / Class Notebook

You must not:

  • Send by e-mail, post on the internet, or in any other way, circulate items that may be considered offensive, threatening, pornographic or illegal.
  • Send e-mail or any other message to any user who does not wish to receive it.
  • Send multiple unsolicited emails (‘spam’) or start or pass-on any chain mail.
  • Use e-mail, internet postings, or any other means, to threaten, harass or incite illegal behaviour.

Illegal activities

By law, you must not:

  • View, read, download, upload, distribute or circulate material, which includes child-abuse images, incitement to violence, race hate or extreme pornography.
  • Publish or disclose information about individuals without their prior consent unless this information has been released into the public domain by the individual or is required by law to be made public.
  • Publish information about individuals or organisations that is inaccurate or untrue, irrelevant, out-of-date, or is intended to damage them, or to hold them up to ridicule, hatred or contempt.
  • You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening, or discriminatory.


In simple terms, phishing is a common method used by cybercriminals. It usually involves the cybercriminal pretending to be a trusted person/organisation, to convince someone to carry out an action – such as providing information, clicking a link, or opening an attachment

More information and how to spot a phishing email and what to do is available on “Inside Devon


Learn Devon is monitored by an online platform called iBoss that provides extensive security and safeguarding for the protection of all staff and learners. The iBoss cloud secures user Internet access on any device, from any location, in the cloud. It is a cloud-based platform with a focus on following users instead of perimeters to ensure that Internet access is always secure regardless of user location and/or internet provider. It has been installed on all WIFI enabled resources, including all Learn Devon laptops and tablets and it has been installed within all centres WIFI and all dongles that are supplied by Learn Devon.

iBoss continuously monitors with real-time alerts regarding any misuse of equipment and/or inappropriate access to online content/material. iBoss will provide reports of usage to SMT (Service Management Team) monthly to ensure that Learn Devon are in compliance and security is in place.

Reporting Incidents

Reporting accidental access to inappropriate material

If, whilst using Learn Devon equipment, you accidentally come across material that you think is inappropriate, offensive or may be illegal, you must:

  • Close the webpage, e-mail, or other viewing software, so that the material is no longer visible. If the material includes sound, make sure this stops as well.
  • Report the incident to a member of Learn Devon staff as soon as possible.
  • Make a brief written note of the incident including the web address, email details or other means by which you came across the material – do this only if you can do so without accessing the material again. Include the time, date, and the identity of the computer you used.
  • Give a copy of this information to the member of staff – this will help with any further investigation and ensure that you are not held responsible.
  • Ask the member of staff to record the details and to then immediately pass them on to the relevant person as determined by the Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent Policy.
  • If you think the material may be illegal due to its content, do not look at it again, or show it to anyone, or print it, or investigate it further, or forward it or circulate it in any way. For illegal materials this would be a criminal offence.

Reporting abuse or misuse

If you think that you or someone else may be the subject of abuse, threats, intimidation or other inappropriate or illegal activity, you must report this to a member of Learn Devon staff as soon as possible. Ask the member of staff to record the details and to then immediately pass them on to the relevant person as determined by the Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent policy.

If you think that someone else may be misusing the equipment, either knowingly or unknowingly, or may be contravening any of the points in this Policy document, you must report this to a member of Learn Devon staff as soon as possible.


Any user found to be knowingly violating this policy may be excluded from Learn Devon websites, use of learning forums e-mail systems and other facilities. If warranted, the individual may also be removed from all Learn Devon learning programmes. In addition, any use that is in contravention of the law will be reported to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.

* General note to staff: All incidents, or suspected incidents, involving young or vulnerable learners must be handled by the procedures Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent Guidance for Staff or Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent Policy

Portable storage media and portable devices

Disclaimer: Although Learn Devon uses robust and up-to-date anti-virus and firewall software, we cannot guarantee that learners’ portable storage media, (such as USB flash drives and SD cards), or portable devices, (such as mobile ‘phones and tablets), will not be infected with a virus.

Learn Devon will not be held responsible for the deletion or corruption of files, software or firmware, held on portable storage media or devices.

This applies to learners’ own portable storage media and devices and to those provided by Learn Devon.

Office 365 and Class Notebook

Learn Devon provides each learner with an Office 365 account as part of the learning experience. This account is provided free of charge at the point of commencement of the first programme of learning, where learners are enrolling directly onto a course delivered by Learn Devon staff. The account and its content remain the property of Learn Devon throughout the life of the programme of learning.

Each learner shall be provided with an individual account and unique sign-in. The learner is responsible for ensuring that the security of the account is maintained through effective management of passwords.

Use of the account must comply with the principles referred to in this policy on acceptable use and misuse subject to the sanctions. Additionally, access to the account is subject to investigation as part of any Safeguarding or PREVENT investigation and may be blocked as part of this investigation.

Each user’s account shall be closed two years after the last date of learning has taken place. It is the responsibility of learners to ensure that they transfer any materials they wish to retain to other media.

Introduction to the Online Classroom – Guidance for Staff

Although there are different terms for learning that does not take place in a classroom with tutors and learners present in the same room, the term ‘online learning’ is used in this document to mean courses that are delivered online, in real-time (via camera), with tutors and learners connected to each other by an online meeting platform, e.g., ‘Zoom’ and or MS Teams.

Learning in a digital environment enables people from all backgrounds to access learning and valuable knowledge. That said, it can be a daunting experience for tutors and learners who are unfamiliar with the use of this technology and who have concerns about their online privacy. Learn Devon teaching sessions must not be recorded.

Our expectation is all cameras will be on throughout the session by all attendees and staff unless a learner and the tutor has arranged specific exemptions. If any staff or learner is unable to use their camera, the tutor must log this information. Break out rooms will be used for 1 to 1 conversations and teaching.

This purpose of this document is to identify good practice concerned with:

  • preparation
  • conduct
  • netiquette
  • support
  • concerns

Meeting platform

The meeting platform to be used when delivering online courses is Zoom and/or MS Teams, both platforms area robust, global, industry-leading tools that is simple to use for tutors and learners and which can be installed on all devices likely to be used by tutors and learners – e.g., PCs, Macs, Android, and Apple devices.

Although Zoom does not need a formal software installation prior to using it for the first time, a small piece of ‘client’ software is automatically downloaded and installed the first time that it is used, but this does not need administrator credentials to install, and it does not affect anything else that users already have installed on their computing devices.

MS Teams can be accessed from a link or your O365 account (supplied by Learn Devon). It can be accessed within the browser to support accessibility or from the desk top app that offers enhanced features.


Ensure that you have the following contact details for each learner:

  • e-mail address;
  • telephone number.

Pre-course Meeting

The purpose of this pre-course online meeting is to sort out any teething problems with meeting online, to reduce the likelihood that technology will get in the way of teaching and learning once your course starts.

In this meeting you must ensure that your learners:

  • know how to join future online sessions using the link in the meeting invite
  • familiarise themselves with the Zoom interface and / or MS Teams – i.e., how it looks and how to interact with it
  • ensure that their audio and video works with the devices that they intend to use, including camera options as cameras are required for the classroom setting
  • use their devices in an area of that is well lit
  • use an appropriate screen name – one that is not offensive, and which distinguishes them from other learners with the same name

Send a message from your Learn Devon e-mail address to each of your learners to introduce yourself and to explain about the online nature of the course.

The message should contain the following information:

  • a date and time for a pre-course online meeting – making this at the same time as the course itself means that the learners are more likely to be available and that a more realistic indication will be gained of the quality of the Internet at the time or your course
  • the link to the Zoom or MS Teams meeting
  • a recommendation that they use a headset or earpiece that combines speakers and microphone, as the quality of what they hear and say will then be better
  • Cameras should be switched on for each session, a recommendation that they use a webcam that is of a better quality to the one that is built-in to their laptop if they have one, if they are unable to use the camera, you need to record this information – ALL staff MUST use the camera for conducting LD (Learn Devon)
  • a recommendation that they either choose a neutral background that does not display any personal items, such as family photographs
  • what they will need to do and what they can expect to happen when they join a Zoom or MS Teams meeting for the first time.

Clothing & Background

Potential difficulties to consider

  • Where you are communicating with a member of staff or learner on a 1:1 basis please remember you are ‘at work’ and therefore will behave in the same way as you would if meeting in person in one of our centres. Cameras must be on during working meetings unless agreed otherwise in advance.
  • Be mindful of wearing appropriate clothing as should anyone else who is likely to be within your camera’s range. If this is not possible, please refrain from using your webcam and inform the meeting organiser or tutor.
  • Consider the background that will be in view: are you comfortable with other people seeing it? You may want to consider not using your bedroom for example and being against a neutral background.
  • Think about the language you are using, is it appropriate? Do not forget about any family members in the background.
  • If you have any safeguarding concerns, please talk to your line manager, or contact the safeguarding team.

Learning support

We understand that sometimes learners may need extra support to aid their learning. Learning support is designed to give the help needed to access their chosen course. Any learner can request support.

Learning support may include:

  • equipment such as specialised computer keyboards, large screen computers, Dictaphones, or screen readers
  • a learning support assistant to work with you

Netiquette Guide for Online Courses

It is important to recognise that the online classroom is in fact a classroom, and certain behaviours are expected when you communicate with both your peers and your learners. These guidelines for online behaviour and interaction are known as netiquette.


Remember that your password is the only thing protecting you from pranks or more serious harm.

  • Do not share your password with anyone.
  • Change your password if you think someone else might know it.
  • Always log out when you are finished using the system.

General Guidelines

When communicating online, you should always:

  • Treat your peers and learners with respect in email or any other communication.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Remember that all communication should have correct spelling and grammar (this includes discussion boards).
  • Avoid slang terms such as “wassup?” and texting abbreviations such as “u” instead of “you.”
  • Use standard fonts such as Ariel, Calibri or Times New Roman and use a size 12 pt. font
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING.
  • Limit and avoid the use of emoticons like 😊.
  • Be cautious when using humour or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or on an online discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or may sound offensive.
  • Be careful with personal information (both yours and others).
  • Do not send confidential information via e-mail
  • Ensure you have your camera and microphone in working order

Email Netiquette

When you send an email to your learner or peer you should:

  • Use a descriptive subject line.
  • Be brief.
  • Avoid attachments unless you are sure your recipients can open them. Consider using live links to documents for both security and currency.
  • Avoid HTML in favour of plain text.
  • Sign your message with your name and return e-mail address as per Devon County Council’s guidelines.
  • Think before you send the e-mail to more than one person. Does everyone really need to see your message?
  • Be sure you want everyone to receive your response when you click, “reply all.”
  • Be sure that the message author intended for the information to be passed along before you click the “forward” button.

Message Board / Chat Netiquette and Guidelines

When posting on the Discussion Board / chat in your online class, you should:

  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material.
  • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending.
  • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment.
  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source.
  • Be sure to read all messages in a thread before replying.
  • Do not repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it.
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree or add to the previous point.
  • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own.
  • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way.
  • Do not make personal or insulting remarks.
  • Be open-minded.

Tutor Support

A staff ILT support forum exists within MS Teams and all staff has full access to post questions and provide answers for the support and sharing of good practice for all Learn Devon staff. This is supported by key members of staff and overseen by the e-learning coordinator.

In the first instance, staff should access the new “Knowledge Base” exists within SharePoint to support staff with ILT issues. This is constantly updated with issues reported by any member of staff. Centre staff are available to help with technological issues that includes software and hardware issues. Centre staff will log the issue, and this will form part of the update process for “how to do IT” document and develop future CPD (Continuing Professional Development) content. If you need help with delivering online learning, please contact our e-learning coordinator or a member of the tutor support team.

All staff has access to free digital skills training modules to enhance personal skills, to assist with embedding digital skills into your teaching, and to support online delivery. These are available through the Education and Training Foundation.


Updated July 2023