Learner Security & Privacy Risks: How Usage of Online Social Media Outside a Learning Management Systems Affects Learners’ Digital Identity

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Issues in Information Systems


Millennial learners are the first group of learners to grow up using social media on a daily basis. Consequently, educators often seek to incorporate social media applications and tools in their efforts to engage the learner in the learning process. Unfortunately, one challenge is that most social applications are constantly connected to the Internet and thus are susceptible to security attacks and abuse of data. There seems to be a limited amount of research on the security and data privacy risks of using open or free social media application and tools outside of a secure learning management system (LMS). This paper examined seven common online social media applications, typically used by educators outside of a LMS, for existing data privacy security settings. Specifically this research investigated if secured and un-secured content posted appeared in a simple google search. The results revealed that content posted was easily found when the data privacy options were turned off. These results imply that a learner’s digital identity may be affected for potential employers, significant others, friends, or educators when they are googling information to learn more about them. This research provides an important foundation for future research on how required usage of online social media applications outside a LMS affects the learners’ digital identity.


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