Teaching Online and Cyberbullying

Exploring Cyberbullying Policies


  • Thomas D Cox University of Central Florida
  • Joseph Raditch University of Central Florida




cyberbullying, higher education policy, online teaching


Cyberbullying is a phenomenon increasingly affecting students and faculty in K-12 through higher education systems. Cyberbullying in higher education negatively affects institutions and their respective stakeholders. The consequences range from faculty turnover to student suicide. Research related cyberbullying in higher education in online learning is emerging. Common understandings of cyberbullying vary by state, institution, and classroom level. Furthermore, many states, including Florida, defer conduct policies and their enforcement to the individual institution. In this article, a review of publicly available Florida university policies regarding cyberbullying in higher education were explored by a Florida professor and a higher education administrator. Utilizing document analysis, this study analyzed policies from the 12 state universities to document the institutional definitions of cyberbullying and the recommended reporting practices for faculty. Further, following the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework, this study examined policies and procedures to determine if they supported the construct of teacher presence. It was determined that there are multiple definitions of cyberbullying and that policies were publicly available but most lacked support for faculty to report related incidences. Most policies were implied and not explicitly related to cyberbullying. Finally, there was little to no evidence in the analyzed documents that would support teaching presence.