Black Hat

Education online: Advice for teachers

10 Technical tips for teachers about how to make remote learning as convenient as possible.


Nobody planned for the current situation, but because of COVID-19, all types of education, all around the world, whether K–12, university, or continuing professional education, have at least partially moved learning to the Internet. With summer breaks coming to an end, the issue of how online learning can be conducted as conveniently, effectively, and safely as possible for both students and teachers is once again top of mind.

In this post, we present 10 pieces of advice that will help teachers make the most of online learning. However, we think students will find these tips useful as well —at least they’ll be on the same page as their teachers.

1. Learn about the tools you’ll be using

Selecting the tools you will use to conduct your online classes — the videoconferencing platform, testing service, messaging app, and so forth — gives you the most flexibility. However, your educational institution may have chosen tools for you already.

Regardless, you should get to know their capabilities and features as well as you can by reading through the instructions, learning the interface, and searching on the Internet for configuration guides. For example, we have a guide for using Zoom.

If your school or university provides you with access to Office 365 or G Suite, for example, clarify with your administrator the full list of resources you can access and use for your classes. It’s possible you didn’t know about something useful. Gain access as soon as possible and learn how to use the services.

2. Understand the rules (and review them with your students)

Your school or university probably has guidelines for the services they want faculty and staff to use, including what you may or may not use them for. And there are probably also rules stipulating which services are prohibited. For example, the school may have a policy forbidding the use of personal accounts for work purposes, or it may insist that everyone use a certain messaging app.

You should know all of those rules and requirements. In addition, you should also stay in the loop about the rules for using school-issued equipment. You might be allowed to take your school laptop home, or you might not. You might be allowed to play solitaire on it in your free time. It’s worth checking.

Last but not least, inform your students in advance about any requirements and restrictions that affect them as well. It is good practice to make such rules available in written form, too.

3. Limit your tools 

The IT tools you select to conduct classes should be convenient for both teacher and students. More tools does not necessarily mean a better experience. Before starting classes, make sure you have sufficient tools for the job and that all participants in the educational process are comfortable using them.

The school may have access to a very large number of services. That does not mean you have to use all of them (unless your organization requires it).

4. Set a unique password for each service

If someone manages to crack your password for one of the services you’re using, such as the videoconferencing platform, then you have a problem. But if you use the same password for the grading or reporting platform, that problem just got a lot bigger.

Therefore, the following rule applies here just as it does for other services: For every account, you need one unique password. Of course, all of your passwords should be strong — long enough and not too obvious. We will not go into more detail here; we have written extensively about this.

Don’t write your passwords on a piece of paper or otherwise store them where someone can find them. If you find it difficult to remember your passwords, use a special password manager, such as, for example, Kaspersky Password Manager.

Finally, if at all possible, avoid situations in which several people share one account. In such cases, you may be unable to establish who made a particular change, and also, the more people using an account, the more vulnerable it is. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.

5. Develop a code of conduct for your classes

During the first lesson (or better, before it), teachers and students should reach an agreement about class procedures. You may agree, for example, that everyone’s camera should be turned on by default, but only the teacher’s microphone should be on at the start of class.

That is just an example, of course. Nevertheless, some code of conduct (preferably set in writing) is necessary in virtual classrooms just as it is in a traditional school setting. Following the code makes conducting class easier for teachers and helps students learn the material with fewer distractions.

If you conduct classes for several grade levels, you may be able to hold one rule-setting session for everyone at once, saving everyone time. During the session, actively test the code of conduct so that teacher and students share common expectations for the school year.

6. Agree on backup channels

Even the most reliable services sometimes encounter a glitch. The reason could be on the service provider side or at the network level of your institution. Regardless, you’ll need a backup plan.

To avoid having to make up classes, figure out in advance which service your class will use if the default one isn’t working.

For example, if students are unable to launch Teams at the beginning of the lesson should they join a Skype call immediately or find out the new plan in WhatsApp? 

Key for that plan to work is knowing in advance where to convene.

7. Maintain punctuality

Remote learning, just like remote work, has its upsides and downsides. One of the latter is that some people may not realize others are waiting for them, which can cause them to be late.

Ten people waiting for one person to start class is a pointless waste of time, which is why maintaining punctuality is imperative. If a lesson is supposed to start at 10:00, start it at exactly 10:00. (It is a best practice to connect to the videoconferencing service several minutes before the start of class to make sure everything is working properly and that everyone has any necessary documents on hand. Let any latecomers connect without comment; arriving late to an online classroom is not as disruptive as arriving in a physical classroom after the bell has rung.)

8. Guard your educational accounts

Pay careful attention to the accounts you use for educational purposes. You should have no problems accessing them at any moment, and no one else should be able to log in to them.

If you are a teacher, your accounts may be of some interest to your students, but ordinary student meddling (say, altering grades) is far from your biggest concern. An attacker who gains access to your account can also obtain the personal data of the other students in the class, which could lead to legal consequences.

If a student loses access to their account, their time will be wasted restoring access or creating a new account. They may also lose the information saved in the account. Though not as critical as the loss of a teacher’s account, it’s still unpleasant and worth avoiding if possible. All educational accounts need protection. If the service allows it, turn on two-factor authentication for everyone.

9. Understand how to recognize phishing e-mails

Educational platforms and videoconferencing services being popular, they are of interest to cybercriminals. These attackers create phishing websites and send out phishing e-mails intended to lure you to their site, where they steal your account credentials.

Therefore, it is important to know how to distinguish phishing attempts from official mailings and the messages legitimate services might send. Phishing sites often contain errors, misaligned layouts, and broken links, but sometimes scammers manage to create phishing pages that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

First, look at the website address in the browser address bar. If it is different by even one character from the address of the service’s official website, do not enter any personal information on the page. We also recommend this post about how to protect yourself from phishing.

10. Protect devices 

You need reliable protection on every device you use to access educational resources. If a student’s school computer is crawled by ransomware, for example, restoring the computer and files can waste a lot of valuable time.

And if a teacher’s computer becomes compromised, things can get even more interesting. Some malware may try to spread to students’ devices. That is why you need reliable protection on all computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Your child is ready for online learning --- How about you?

Here are 5 Things You Need to Know First


As schools turn to cyberspace to make remote teaching possible, parents are suddenly forced to embrace distance learning and assume added responsibilities with their child’s schooling.

For the overwhelmed parent, it can be tempting to just hand a computer to a child and shove them into the online world on their own and expect them to thrive.

Just like in the physical world though, the cyberspace is filled with as many opportunities as there are threats. Kids being kids, they cannot yet be expected to distinguish between good and bad. So the onus is on the parents to step up to make it work right.

Here are five things that parents need to know to prepare themselves as they weave family life into their child’s home learning with online safety in mind:

1. Communicate

The Internet can be compared to a huge, limitless library, where information just seems to be endless. This means that online learning can be a breeze because everything is at our fingertips. While it can be beneficial for a child, the Internet can have hidden pitfalls that can only be avoided with early, frequent and proper communication between parents and children 

In Kaspersky’s most recent survey, it was revealed that the majority of parents (58%) have spent less than 30 minutes talking to their children about online safety throughout their kids’ childhood.

As parents of today’s digital kids, you can do more. Laying down clear-cut rules and discussing these with your child in the beginning is a good start. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your kids to explain the family guidelines on behaving online and engaging in online activities such as signing up on websites, sites, making online purchases, downloading music or video files, or joining chat or messaging rooms. 

According to Kaspersky Security Network data from January 2020 to May 2020, Filipino children users of devices installed with Kaspersky solutions have been engaging in buying and selling of items online which peaked in April 2020 at 6.04% during the pandemic period from only 3.42% in January 2020. In the same period, Fiipino kids were also seen to have been downloading a bit more software, audio and video content from 32.67% in January 2020 to 38.7% in March 2020.

Such activities pose security risks if children are not made aware of possible dangerous outcomes --- confidential login details or financial data used in online shopping may be used fraudulently. Children may also unknowingly download materials from torrent sites which may come with free malware that can wreak havoc on one’s device.

2. Surf together

One of the key findings in Kaspersky’s survey showed that 50% of parents manually check their children’s devices to look through browsing history, after use. Parents may think that doing so is alright but children may feel otherwise.

Building mutual trust is possible when parents spend time online with their children, particularly during online learning sessions. This is important as parents teach their kids how to explore the Internet safely and how to use this platform for studying online and socializing with friends, classmates, and teachers.

It’s also advisable to keep the devices out in the open, placed in communal spaces around the house to help parents stay on top of any potential issues. Doing so also prompts children to self-check because of an adult’s presence within the space.

3. Limit online time

The Web is so named because it's like a web. Or a maze. And anyone can get lost in it. Kids can get distracted from schoolwork or they can have extended screen time past their school hours at home. They can be endlessly glued on to their devices if they are unmonitored.

Set boundaries by scheduling their time on their screen and going offline. One good way is to set off the alarm to alert you and your child.

Kaspersky’s survey results show that a quarter (26%) of children experienced being addicted to the internet. This has often led to kids clamming up emotionally and socially, displaying irritability or signs of depression when not online. Other children even sacrifice sleep to spend an extra hour online.

Setting boundaries will help keep your child from spending too much time playing games or watching videos rather than studying. Besides needing boundaries, kids thrive better with a good balance of activities to enjoy a healthy childhood despite this pandemic situation.

4. Debrief daily

Oftentimes, search results for study purposes don't exactly lead to the kind of information one is looking for. A child might make an innocent search for a school topic but may find mature content intended for adults.

Children seeing harmful content online (27%) is the top online threat that families have reported experiencing, based on a Kaspersky survey released in Q4 of 2019. Among the dangerous things that kids encounter on social media are sexting and cyberbullying. In a previous international survey from Global Kids Online, a third of children in the Philippines have been reported to have seen sexual images throughout the year of 2018.

The recent KSN data showed Filipino kids’ interest in weapons also went up from 0.12% in January 2020 to 0.53% in April 2020.

Spending a few minutes with your child before bed each day, talking about their good and bad encounters, including their online activities, will help normalize the conversation. Over time, such a conversation will feel less like making a special effort for parents to “check in” and will contribute to a family’s cybersmart approach to safety.

5. Educate yourself

Kaspersky suggests for parents to catch up with the cyberworld and to plan their conversations with their children ahead of time. There are also advanced solutions like Kaspersky Total Security 2020 that’s loaded with the Safe Kids feature to help parents protect their kids when online.

“Use the resources available around you. As parents, we want the best for our kids and we are learning as we go. Our own approach will be different from the next parent and it’s totally fine. We have the technology, up-to-date information provided by organizations and companies and we have our fellow parents to ask for help. We found that when parents pool their wisdom and provide their kids with specific, practical and timely advice delivered in a way that is useful and memorable, that’s how they become effective in raising their kids safer in a digital world,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Kaspersky Southeast Asia.

Kaspersky Total Security 2020 is a great tool to help parents look after their children when online.

Parents will also appreciate the security solution’s adult site blocker, screen time manager, app use controls and social network tracker (because kids now have their own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!). With the GPS child-locator in Kaspersky Total Security 2020, parents can even check their kid’s location and find out if the child steps beyond the safe area specified.

“In one of the surveys in the past where children were asked globally, 75% of the kids said they’d feel safer if they could speak with their parents about online dangers. Again, we start by educating ourselves and choosing the correct tools to help us and kids each to stay safe online,” Yeo added.

The single-user license of Kaspersky Total Security 2020 retails for Php 1,390. KTS is now available in all major IT stores nationwide.