Online Rights and Safety

Agridulce el wireside con Lessig

Photo Credit: Agridulce el wireside con Lessig by De todos los Colores

Yesterday we participated in the live, interactive, global wireside chat with Lawrence Lessig, disseminated via streaming technology based on an open source platform. For those of you who missed it, you can catch it on Flumotion’s blog. I was especially happy to see some of you following/participating on Twitter and look forward to hearing your thoughts about the experience.

This week we are fortunate to have Nicole McClure and Joe Madaus talk with us about universal design for instruction principles when using technology. We’ll use the rest of our class time looking at copyleft resources and our digital footprints.

Was there anything in this week’s readings or in the wireside chat that you found surprising or encouraging?


10 Responses to “Online Rights and Safety”

  1. Lay Says:

    What is private and what should be public. Now, THAT IS the question.

    During Lawrence Lessig’s talk, he brought very interesting points. Ultimately, we can jump to the conclusion that something becomes private as soon as someone claims it to be. His Disney examples were proof of that. We could also say that something becomes private as soon as someone pays for it. He broadly touch on this aspect.

    On the other side of the coin, the next question is what do we want to be private. Jeff Jarvis, in “The German privacy paradox”, gives examples of what some people want to keep private: from their bodies to their information. He hits on a very interesting spot when he writes about what we make public of ourselves. It then becomes a question of choice.

    How can we take from these two very different ideas when thinking about our students (and our) work while using Web based tools that are open to everybody around the world? I am the first to admit that, even though I like the cooperative nature of the web, there are certain things I would like to keep private. I must understand that my students do too. How much am I risking their privacy when asking them to post their writing on a blog? How am I addressing the fact that they may be uncomfortable of putting their thoughts on the web and doing so in a second language?

    J. Jarvis writes: “No one wants to be embarrassed and so we don’t want to reveal embarrassing things. But who to say what’s embarrassing? It comes out of our fear of what others will think of us. So others do. As a journalist, I’m embarrassed to make mistakes, but I’ve had to learn in blogging and Twitter that correcting mistakes enhances credibility. It’s not the mistake that matters but what you do about it.”

    Indeed, my goal is that my students get to exercise their writing abilities as well as empowering them to correct their mistakes. The question then is: How do I create an environment where my students feel at ease, where they do not feel judged and where their choice of posting does not go against their right to privacy?

  2. Blanca Says:

    I found really surprising how others can trace you on the Internet and how they could gather so much information about you without your permission. I think I visited all the sites cited in Tony Hirst’s “Time to Get Scared, People?” (I discovered that, fortunately, I am almost invisible). This made me think about what I want and do not want to be public about me and the advantages and “risks” of making some things public. Jeff Jarvis seems to see more advantages than disadvantages in having a cyber-public life and suggests that, if keeping “too much” privacy, we could even be considered antisocial. His words reveal his pro-publicness position: “And what is the cost of privacy?” In my opinion, it should be a matter of choice. I decide not to put photos where I appear on the internet, I decide not to use real names when talking about someone on Facebook, etc.” Why should I be a public person if I do not want to? And as we should have the right to choose who gets our information and could control its flow, we also should be educated on how to do so. As Moritz comments “we don’t only have to think of the technical side of privacy, but also the educational part of it which is showing people how to effectively protect their privacy. Making the mistake yourself (e.g. posting the party-pics on your blog while applying for a job) is one thing, being analyzed and surveyed without even noticing it (hence not doing any mistake actively) is another.” The Internet and its impact on our lives is so recent that there is still a lot to do…

  3. kemen528 Says:

    I found the readings this week to be very enjoyable, particularly due to the subject matter. I feel as if though I can divide the readings into two topics: the use of copywritten materials in the classroom and and privacy of the individual on social networking sites.

    With regards to the use of copywritten materials in the classroom, I felt the strongest about Hitting Pause on Class Videos by Steve Kolowich particularly when he mentions the use of movies in language instruction. Just to include a personal anecdote, I was in a film class where the instructor used very obscure foreign language films that could not be found online (netflix, world cat or any website), the library, much less any rental store here. The professor had to resort to making illegal copies for each one of his students so that it could be viewed at home for educational purposes (I believe that the movies were obscure for a reason, haha). Obviously what this professor did was illegal, but, what else was he supposed to do? I definitely agree with the following quote from the article: “Copyright has been and continues to be a significant impediment in academic research and instruction,” said Mitrano. This not only applies to films, but also written materials such as articles (I cannot tell you how many professors upload hard-to-access articles on huskyct that are scanned and most likely a copyright infringement). Yet again I ask, what else is the professor supposed to do? Subject him or herself to the whinning of students that they could not find the video or article and therefore could not complete the assignment? An instructors mission is to broaden knowledge and I sincerely do not see the harm in these two anecdotes that I have just provided. I believe that copyright laws and education must find a common ground and that resources like Creative Commons are a step in the right direction.

    Now on to the next topic, the privacy of the individual on social networking sites. I can relate to this extremely well particularly with my use of facebook. I enjoy being befriended by my students; however, I do not make it a practice to go out there and befriend every single one of my students, but if a student decides that I am “cool” enough to friend, then I do not stop that. If anything, I want my students to see me as approachable, which I believe contributes to a relaxing classroom environment that fosters participation and learning of the second language. However, both of these articles: The German privacy paradox by Jeff Jarvis and The Online Amplification Effect by Margaret Soltan stress the importance of filtering one’s private information, which is exactly what I do. I carefully monitor and control what I want my students to see and not see on my facebook page because I want to maintain a professional image (I don’t think that my students will take me seriously if they see me drunkenly posing as lady gaga on halloween with my friends). Therefore, when ever a student befriends me I let out a sigh because I know that it will be bittersweet: while I am happy that they befriended me, I now have to go through my privacy settings to protect my identity as an instructor. Of course I loosen these privacy settings when I know that they do not have a chance of being my student again and our relationship becomes friendly. I have found that my students do not seem to care as much. When I become their friend most of them fail to cover up those “partying pics,” but at the same time I understand that they are college students and I myself did many of those things. Since they choose not to control their privacy, I choose to control it for them by not actively looking at their pictures. I do not want to think poorly of a student because I will be the first one to admit it, like it or not, I believe it does affect how you evaluate a student, consciously or unconsciously. What does everyone else think?

  4. inasayyoub Says:

    Almost all of this week’s readings were surprising, but agree with Kemen that I found them to be enjoyable. Starting with the fact that the information found on you on the Internet can affect many decisions concerning a job or even a university housing you applied to !! First,this seemed to be unfair to me since such information the applicant decided not to share in the first place is being hunted and privacy is violated. Anyway, a second thought of it after reading “Admissions of Guilt” by Terry Calhoun made me feel perplexed in questioning how helpful this may be especially if such incidents like Virginia Tech Killings to be avoided but still can’t neglect how people feel abused when searched this way. I also agree with Kemen, that when you as a teacher do that, this will affect any decision you made about students depending on what you find about them, sometimes maybe in an unconscious way!!

    I would also refer to Jeff Jarvis article ” The German Privacy Paradox” which also takes me to the point of what to be public and what to be private as being the most important question as Lay suggests , too. For me I liked his idea into being more open and to go with publicizing ourselves( if I may say that). It made me kind of change my view of what people do with twitter and facebook with sharing their lives there which always seemed silly to me is now about communicating and getting the information we need , keeping in mind it is not the only source of information but sometimes it can be a great source to seek it!
    Yet,the reason why publicness is required especially with issues going on campuses is because everybody has the right to Know where money is being spent and other relevant issues to safety and so on as Margret Soltan suggests. But my question here is are we going to reach a stage where keeping a public blog of students work is a must as an evidence for the good educational quality that supervisors and other parents check and make sure that the students are really learning something? It may seem a silly question but it makes me wonder!!

  5. chenwenh Says:

    I think this week’s readings and last week’s live streaming session with Lawrence Lessig really hit me hard. I don’t mean that I went through an emotional roller coaster ride while reading and watching the session. I meant to say that they did leave a strong impression on me–me as an individual, as a graduate student and as a teaching assistant.

    As an independent individual, I did worry about the issue of identity theft as well as that of privacy when I created my Facebook account. I hoped to build my network and maintain a good relationship with my friends on Facebook as I would in real life, but I was also afraid that my personal information might be manipulated by any third party who caused damages to me, my family or my friends.

    As a graduate student, I did wonder what impact my writing a blog could have when I started my first blog. Could that be positive or negative in terms of my newly-launched “academic,” “professional,” graduate research career? I did hesitate to write freely about what I would like to put in a personal journal, and thus I kept in mind that I only typed down what could be viewed by the intended audience. Yet the sort of precautionary writing deprived me of the pleasure I could enjoy in creative writing. It seemed as if a system of censorship existed and scanned my thoughts behind my back. Thus I left my first blog idle for a year and then started another two, but I gave them up for the same reason.

    As a teaching assistant, I just loved Google. I occasionally googled my fellow TAs, my professors or my students to find some information. Funny enough is that it never occurred to me to google myself constantly. And I have never thought of the possibility of wrong online information that Terry Calhoun suspected. Moreover, I searched online to find useful information for teaching, and I often incorporated online materials into my lesson plans or slide presentations. I was also advised that the copy right issue should be taken seriously when designing my pedagogy. I did remain alert when including online materials as I had no desire to get involved into any law suits in a foreign country.

    For me, there exists a paradox between the embrace of technological power and the fear of its control. After reading Tony Hirst’s “Time to Get Scared, People,” I realize that I am not alone feeling so insecure when knowing that I left indelible digital footprints online. Reading Terry Calhoun’s “Admission Guilt,” I am convinced that being a prudent netizen is never too conservative. Certainly, the paradox is different from the one Jeff Jarvis called “The German Privacy Paradox”; however, this paradox should be able to pinpoint a significant dilemma every digital native or immigrant encounters. On the one side of this scale, technology does enable us to enjoy conveniences, to develop capacities, and to reach goals. On the other side, our dependence on it sabotages our independence, our humanity and our free will.

    What is the middle ground that we can pursue? What is the best position we can take since we are assuming the responsibility of educating our next generation? In the issue of copy, Creative Commons seems to offer an alternative between total submission to technology and sheer rejection of digital media. I am not sure of a firm ground where we can straddle across the benefits and downsides of technology, but I am pretty positive that in the case of UCLA’s new policy because of a copy right charge, we instructors need to stand up to Steve Kolowich’s and Lessig’s “Call for Copy Right Rebellion.”

    • celeste2010 Says:

      Creative Commons is in deed a very good alternative as I see it given that we need to organize all the information available which tends to be more and more everyday. It’s so much easier to find copyright information that way and also an excellent source of collaborative work.

      On the other hand, I think maybe our fear of personal information released is somehow related to being non-natives in this virtual reality.
      We tend to fear what is new to us and I think someday, when we become familiar with this, all the fears will be transformed into a new way of acting. As we learn new rules in every stage of our lives. Maybe it’s a matter of “getting use to” instead of “being worried about”. Sometimes I feel the same way as you do Chenwen, when posting any comment on Facebook or anywhere in the cyberspace, but I try hard to think of any possible repercussions of that before doing it. I think it’s the same process of doing that when we speak, of course it’s written and it might last forever but in one way we have to feel free of saying what we think because that’s part of who we are, our own identity. Of course, as the proverb says, it’s always good to “think before you speak” 🙂 or I found one by Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poetess, “No digas lo que piensas, pero piensa lo que dices” (Don’t say what you think, but think on what you say). In this last one, I agree with the last half 😉 .

      Other issue might be that although we act as responsible and honest people we may change our opinion so I think that’s a good possibility of real life too. There’s nothing wrong with that if we find it important to learn, re-think and change.

    • christopherlaine Says:

      I think Chenwen brings up a good point in her comments on her blogging experience. There are some things you would write for one audience that you wouldn’t want another to see. This applies to student writing in class as well. I would have taken fewer chances in my writing, I think, if I knew it would be handed off to a random student for critique. Instead, having gotten to know the single professor over the course of the semester, I was able to work on a writing style drawing upon personal experience about which I knew the professor would be sympathetic, but about which I wouldn’t trust just anyone.

  6. sondrus Says:

    I was intrigued by how the university prizes privacy. I was also surprised by how it is slow in the move towards seeing itself as part of a larger community. Also I thought that the comment on the discrimination against bloggers applying for jobs in academia resonates with Chenwenh’s experience of self censorship while blogging and her stopping of blogging due to worry of reception and perception. I think blogging is certainly not viewed as a scholarly activity, at minimum this stereotype exists. However as more and more academic journals move to being online, I think we will see more and more acceptance of blogging.

  7. celeste2010 Says:

    The Wireside Chat with Lawrence Lessig was an interesting experience not only for its content but also because it was a combination of virtual and reality. And that’s what brings us back to our class with Barbara goals.
    Social networks are not only good tools for us as teachers but also as students/learners/social subjects.
    At the conference we were connected with a lot of people at the same time/real time sharing our interest and our thoughts, particularly through twitter (given that it was my first time “tweeting” it wasn’t that bad so it should be a simple tool to engage our students if they are not already using it).
    It was good to be able to “talk” and making comments to each other while Lawrence was talking but without interrupting him.
    At some point I felt like it was a double dimensional experience and that might be one of the most interesting innovations.
    Of course, the possibility to “rise your hand” at the end and make a question (from wherever you were in the world) was amazing.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: