Collaboration between the eSafety Commissioner and Universities Australia has produced a Toolkit for Universities, the key to safely conducting teaching and other functions online during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Toolkit includes 14 individual resources and covers a range of topics for students, academics and institutions.
They include Online Safety 101; tips for supporting staff wellbeing; guides for responding to cyber abuse, and supporting students and staff using online platforms, including video-conferencing.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the online safety of staff and students was more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Toolkit is our first step towards empowering university communities to be well-informed and proactive on online safety — both during COVID-19 and after it,” Ms Inman Grant said.
Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Catriona Jackson (pictured) said Australia’s 1.4 million university students were studying online, many of them using new platforms for the first time.
“Students and staff have adapted with incredible speed and skill, but we know more people online means more risk,” Ms Jackson said.
“This Toolkit equips them with essential knowledge about staying safe online.”
Ms Inman Grant said more than 35 per cent of reports of image-based abuse made to eSafety related to young adults in the 18-to-24 age group, “a group that comprises about 60 per cent of all enrolments at Australian universities”.
She said compared to the monthly average last calendar year, there had been an increase in image-based abuse complaints of more than 200 per cent over the COVID-19 period of March and April.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher said COVID-19 had made online learning a reality for university students and the new eSafety Toolkit would help.