Digital Identity: December 1-18, 2009

Institutional concerns

Institutional concerns

by Cindy Underhill -
Number of replies: 6
Hi everyone,

Welcome to week 3 of our discussion. For this week, it might be interesting to explore some of the issues facing higher ed related to social media and related identity, privacy, safety concerns.

Here are a few of the themes that seem to be part of many discussions in our Canadian institution (UBC), what about yours?

  • open (the internet and social media) vs. closed (the LMS). Should we be restricting access to our learning spaces? Registered learners only.
  • responsibility vs. user beware. How do we incorporate teaching using social media tools and approaches when most are delivered via servers based in the US? see FIPPA and the US Patriot Act. What is our responsibility to students?
  • roles vs. integration. How should students learn about digital identity issues? Should this be integrated with our courses? Is it the responsibility of librarians, student development experts?
  • social spaces vs. learning spaces. What is the value in blending these? Do students even want this?

Very interesting discussion series between George Siemens and Dave Cormier, sharing links, discussing resources and sharing their ideas while addressing questions related to social media and associated issues: Archives: http://www.editlib.org/view/33137





In reply to Cindy Underhill

Re: Institutional concerns

by E.A. Draffan -
I think these are all very important issues but I just wish institutions would also have concerns about usability and accessibility of all the social media, players and networks. Having spent last August re-testing over 100 Web 2.0 services I was struck by the lack of progress in accessibility, despite the fact that many were being advised for use by educators. Most services had not changed over the preceding year although some had alternatives such as mobile Facebook, or there were other options like accessible Twitter and captioning for YouTube plus an accessible YouTube player. The results of all the testing are available on the Web2Access web pages. The main issues tend to be with registration difficulties, the lack of ability to add captions or even alt tags (short descriptions) to images and alternatives for video and audio podcasts when uploading items. Best wishes E.A.
In reply to E.A. Draffan

Re: Institutional concerns

by Cindy Underhill -
Thanks for the link to the Web2Access project. It is certainly an often overlooked consideration when thinking about incorporating social media into our learning spaces. I'll certainly be passing this on to my colleagues to review.

All the best with your continued work in this area!

Cindy


In reply to Cindy Underhill

Patriot Act

by Sylvia Currie -

Cindy Underhill wrote,

responsibility vs. user beware. How do we incorporate teaching using social media tools and approaches when most are delivered via servers based in the US? see FIPPA and the US Patriot Act. What is our responsibility to students?

It seems that this is one of those issues that is so complex that people choose to ignore it! Or, in many cases people aren't even aware that they aren't complying.

Is it becoming more difficult to stay within geographical boundaries on the Internet? I mean, technically, is it even possible (imagining all those little packets zipping around the globe)? Are there some good summaries of how educational institutions have responded? And curious...Is Patriot Act mostly something Canadians are concerned with, or is it an international issue?

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Patriot Act

by Cindy Underhill -
Hi Sylvia,

Great questions you've raised! Here are a couple of examples of how some Canadian universities have responded:

  • Lakehead University outsourced its email service to Google and was challenged by Faculty Ass'n on basis of Patriot Act. Ruling landed in favor of the University: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4054/125/
  • Dalhousie students challenged University to offer email services that included social networking and collaboration tools - like those offered by Google. The US Patriot Act was on the minds of some of the Faculty members who responded in comments on this blog: https://blogs.dal.ca/its/2009/03/20/wantmore/
  • Academic libraries worked to have Refworks (popular US based research reference tool moved to Canadian servers). Prior to that, many were using disclaimers on their sites.
  • At UBC, we have been told (by our privacy office) that a disclaimer is important when discussing applications, tools and resources that have their servers based in the US and require students to sign up with email and disclosure of personal info. Here is an example of what we developed for LEAP (student academic support site): http://leap.ubc.ca/get-teched-up/social-software/social-bookmarking/

In reply to Cindy Underhill

Re: Patriot Act

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks for all these great resources, Cindy. The LEAP site is really neat, and I like the approach of putting in a disclaimer and educating learners, rather than implementing drastic rules about the use of social networking services at the institutional level.

Here's the info from the LEAP site:

Just remember, if you are signing up to a service that is hosted in the U.S., you’ll want to take note of the privacy policies before you give over your personal information. The U.S. has a different view of privacy protection than we do in Canada.