Information Security Perspective of a Learning Management System: An Exploratory Study

Information Security Perspective of a Learning Management System: An Exploratory Study

Mohd Faiz Hilmi (School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia), Shahrier Pawanchik (School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia), Yanti Mustapha (Department of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Kedah, Malaysia) and Hafizi Muhamad Ali (Department of Management Science, Yanbu University College, Yanbu Industrial City, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/jksr.2013040102
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Abstract

The advancement of information technology has changed the education landscape. The process of teaching is no longer the same. Information technology has made e-learning possible and available on a large scale. The main component of an e-learning is a learning management system (LMS). LMS has been widely used and are accessible through the Internet. By connected and accessed to the Internet, LMS are exposed to various threats. Proper understanding of these threats combined with strategy and best practices countermeasures will ensure a safe learning environment. Therefore this study will look into the information security aspect of LMS. There are two main purpose of this study. First, this study provides a review of information security in e-learning environments and explains the important of information security. Confidentiality, integrity and availability are considered to be the primary pillars of information security. In addition to these pillars, the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium introduced a common body of knowledge (CBK) comprised of ten domains relating to specific information security topics. These domains are the foundation of security practices for those involved in information security. In this article, each of these is explained within an e-learning context. It is recommended that institutions employing e-learning adhere to these domains. By applying the principles and practices associated with each domain, e-learning institutions should be able to provide an e-learning system with high confidentiality, integrity and availability. The second purpose of this study is to understand student perception of an information security perspective of an e-learning management system. To achieve this purpose, a survey was conducted targeted at undergraduate students in a distance learning program. 497 students responded to a survey questionnaires. Apart from demographics information, the survey asked the respondent to rate six statements related to how they perceived security of the learning management system which they are currently using. All six statements are rated using a five point Likert scale anchored at 1 (Not at all) to 5 (Very much). Frequencies analysis was conducted to show the profile of the respondent. Overall, respondent has strong positive perceptions towards security of their LMS. This study provides an overall picture of information security elements of a learning management system. It can serve as an introduction which help LMS administrator to understand the issues and possibilities related to the safety of LMS.
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1. Introduction

The advancement of information technology has changed the education landscape. Various new methods of information delivery have emerged (Saleh, 1997; Sakamoto, 1997). Information technology has made e-learning possible and available on a large scale particularly via the Internet. E-learning is positioned to experience dramatic growth. Recently, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Premier and the Chairman of Higher Education Council, has approved the establishment of Riyadh-based Saudi Electronic University (King approves establishment of Saudi Electronic University, n.d.).

Thus, e-learning which relies upon the Internet is open to threats (Kritzinger & Solms, 2006) and information security has become a preeminent concern. Therefore, this study provides a review of information security in the e-learning environment and explains security decisions that should be made based on the ten domains of information security established by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium. This study is also looking at how perceived security in e-learning portal affects the students’ usage of e-learning portal and learning attitudes. The study approaches perceived security from a broader perspective, which not only includes technical aspects such as confidentiality and authentication also refers to a student’s comprehensive sense of security and well-being. Students’ perceptions of security can be somewhat different from the real security level on an e-commerce site.

Several past researchers focused on various aspect of information security as summarized in Table 1.

Table 1.
Focus of selected research on information security of e-learning
AuthorFocus
   (Mohd Alwi & Ip-Shing, 2009)   Security elements in e-learning
   (Arkhipov & Ovodkov, 2004)   Information security collaboration between education providers
   (Eibl et al., 2006)   Information security rating of e-learning system
   (Chang & Uden, 2008)   Information security governance
   (Doherty et al., 2009)   Information security policy in higher education institution
   (El-Khatib et al., 2003)   Security and privacy issues in e-learning
   (Kritzinger & Solms, 2006)   Countermeasures and information security pillars in -learning environment
   (Tsiantis et al., 2007)   Feedback and control rights of online learning participants

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