Principles of Secure Access and Privacy in Combined E-Learning Environment: Architecture, Formalization, and Modelling

Principles of Secure Access and Privacy in Combined E-Learning Environment: Architecture, Formalization, and Modelling

Radi Petrov Romansky (Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria) and Irina Stancheva Noninska (Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5297-0.ch009

Abstract

Globalization in the contemporary information society outlines new important challenges in privacy and personal data protection that apply to user security in cyberspace. This is also the case e-learning environments, which use new network technologies, such as remote access, distributed processing, information sharing, cloud services, social computing, etc. Strong security procedures based on authentication, authorization, and data protection should be proposed to protect system resources, user profiles, personal information, educational materials, and other specific information. The chapter presents the opportunities and challenges of some digital technologies that could increase the effectiveness of e-learning processes by developing a combined e-learning environment. A functional architecture with two sub-systems (front office and back office) and different information resources (public, internal, external) is discussed. Investigation by using formalization and modelling is made and assessments are presented.
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Introduction

It is well known that e-learning is learning based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for remote access to educational curriculum and materials outside of a traditional classroom. Many terms are used for describing e-learning as online learning, internet learning, distance education, etc. The contemporary ICT permit to extend these definitions with distributed learning, mobile learning, social learning, cloud learning, etc. Yes, e-learning has many benefits, but developed e-learning systems and environments must propose services with a high level of user’s security and personal data protection.

The digital world based on Internet proposes many opportunities for collaboration and remote access, making communications easy and fast. Implementation of cloud and social computing technologies contributes to the success of the understanding and accepting e-learning policy as a whole (Peytcheva-Forsyth, 2015). There are different proposals for e-learning architectures based on cloud services and social media (Joshi, 2014; Neville, 2013; Riahi, 2015; Khedr, 2017; Yang, 2017). These new technologies have many advantages which sometimes could cause difficulties with protection of information and user’s privacy (Chen, 2013).

All information resources should be regarded as an integration of information (structured data) that are supported by technological and technical units (computer equipment; program tools; meta-data for description of information objects; means for designing, developing and managing; etc.). Globalization and opportunities for distributed access to different information resources impose adoption of information security policy and strong control over user’s personal data processing (Romansky, 2015a). This is very important as the use of Internet is permanently increasing. o be done bearing in mind permanent increasing of Internet using. All new opportunities of globalization could have a negative effect on digital privacy and this is valid for all components of Information Society as virtual environments (Guazzini, 2017), distributed and online learning (Bandara, 2014; Chen, 2013), cloud computing (Viti, 2014; Lavanya, 2017), mobile communications (Hasan, 2015; Jung, 2015; Olawumi, 2017), social computing (Kinast, 2014; Misra, 2015), Internet of Things in education (Burd, 2017), etc. The Web applications which usually share personal information, determine a necessity for secure Internet connections, hence network providers must guarantee user’s privacy (Fisher, 2014; Kinast, 2014). It is well known that the privacy is a fundamental human right and very often it depends on secure processing of personal data. Different components of the digital word require creation of personal profiles that consist of personal data and they should be protected by improving the legislation and implemented clear privacy strategy (Werner, 2017) and strong security conception (Gabor, 2017).

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