Tools for learning activities
Supported versus unsupported tools
Section 4.5 of the York TEL Handbook lists both supported and unsupported tools that can be used for learning activities. Use the information on this page to guide your decision about potentially using an unsupported tool.
Supported tools (as the name suggests) are supported by teams at the University of York and are subject to contracts agreed between the University and the vendor. This ensures prompt support (from UoY teams and vendors where issues are escalated), robust data security and agreed levels of service availability.
Where feasible, supported tools should be used over unsupported tools.
Centrally supported tools at UoY:
- All Tools supported by UoY IT Services
- All Services and Tools supported by UoY Library
- Portfolio of Tools and Services Offered specifically by the ELDT [PDF]
In the event of technical issues with centrally supported tools, contact the relevant team for help:
IT Services can also advise on storing or using sensitive or confidential data in all supported tools.
In contrast, unsupported tools are not supported by any IT-related team at the University of York, are not subject to an agreed contract between the University and the vendor and have no guarantee of robust security.
Due to this there are a few steps that need to be completed by module leaders before third party tools can be used:
- They must read and understand relevant University policy:
- Use of external IT services for learning and teaching – Guidance for staff
- IT Outsourcing and Cloud Computing Policy
- For further guidance please contact the Information Governance Officer
- They must consult with the University’s Data Security Officer to ensure that the proposed tool meets the University’s requirements for data management (particularly in light of recent GDPR changes): firstname.lastname@example.org
If use of an unsupported tool is approved:
- Be sure to only use non-sensitive (ie. non-personal, non-confidential) data within these tools that will cause no issue if breached or lost:
- If technical difficulties occur module leaders will need to contact the vendor’s own support team directly, rather than an IT team at UoY:
- Most vendors have a “Help”, “Support” or “Contact Us” link somewhere on their website or a Twitter/Facebook account that you can contact.
- Vendors of unsupported tools have no contract with the UoY to provide support in a timely manner or ensure a consistent, “always-on” service. This may result in slow help with issues and unexpected periods of instability or complete unavailability without warning.