Security risks and protection in online learning: A survey

  • Yong Chen Old Dominion University
  • Wu He Old Dominion University
Keywords: Online learning, security, risk, threat, protection, e-learning


This paper describes a survey of online learning which attempts to determine online learning providers’ awareness of potential security risks and the protection measures that will diminish them. The authors use a combination of two methods: blog mining and a traditional literature search. The findings indicate that, while scholars have identified diverse security risks and have proposed solutions to mitigate the security threats in online learning, bloggers have not discussed security in online learning with great frequency. The differences shown in the survey results generated by the two different methods confirm that online learning providers and practitioners have not considered security as a top priority. The paper also discusses the next generation of an online learning system: a safer personal learning environment which requires a one-stop solution for authentication, assures the security of online assessments, and balances security and usability.

Author Biographies

Yong Chen, Old Dominion University

Mr. Yong Chen is an instructional technology specialist at Old Dominion University, Virginia. He got his MA in Educational Technology at San Diego State University. His research interests include online learning, mobile learning, security and privacy in online learning, learning management system safety, and Web 2.0 applications in teaching and learning. He has published 4 papers on peer-review journals, such as  Information and Management, and Systems Research and Behavioral Science.

Wu He, Old Dominion University
Dr. Wu He is Assitant Professor of Information of Information Technology at College of Business and Public Administration, Old Dominion University. He has published many papers in top ranking journals. His research interests include information system, information technology, social media, and data mining.
How to Cite
Chen, Y., & He, W. (2013). Security risks and protection in online learning: A survey. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(5).
Research Articles