6. Privacy, security, copyright

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Meg’s Blogagogical objectives

  1. To assess the level of risk — real and perceived — involved in being online.
  2. To formulate a set of principles for good online citizenship.

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Your Blogagogical objectives

What are you hoping to learn from this module? Your objectives can be the same as mine, but is there anything else you are expecting to learn? Write it down (or, better still, blog it!) or discuss with a partner or small group in the class.

Blog it here.

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Introduction

Asking students to do anything in the public arena will expose them to certain risks. You need to know what those risks are and how to manage them. You also need to know get educated about the facts about copyright, Creative Commons, and blog security. The truth is that all these risks can be managed, but how you do that will be up to you. This module gives you a starting point for your own explorations of privacy, security and copyright issues.

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Focus questions: Risks of being online

What do you know about the risks associated with being online? What fears do you have? How are the issues of privacy, security and copyright related? Have you heard of ‘Creative Commons’? How safe to do you think your students’ current online behaviour is? How safe do you think your own current online behaviour is? (You might be suprised … how hard do you think it is for a dodgy type to find out your mother’s maiden name?) Is what you know based on evidence, research and reasoning, or just gut feeling? Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

Blog it here.

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Managing student blogging

Pedagogical as well as security considerations should be informing your decisions about which option you decide to run with:

  1. You can lock everything down so that a student’s blog is visible only to yourself and no-one else. This might be a good option if you want the student to blog some quite personal reactions to course content.
  2. You can lock everything down so that a student’s blog is visible only to yourself and the rest of the class. You might use this option if you have genuine concerns about privacy for your class, or if you want only class members to be able to comment on the class’s blog/s.
  3. You can open things up so that the world can see your students’ work and comment on it. This option makes the best use of the power of blogging in that it allows anyone to comment on students’ work, thus exposing their work to more opinions to help them form their own.

If you go for option 3, make sure your students protect their real names, passwords, and usernames: they must not share their personal information with anyone. Mr Voight has made sure this happens for his class’s blogs.

Technologies involved in Internet Risks

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Exercise: Managing risk

Think of a project or assignment that you would use blogs for in class. Consider how you will manage the risks associated with putting the assignment into the blogging environment. Will you shut everything down? Will you educate students in good online behaviour and monitor things closely? Are you prepared to oversee student blogs and to moderate where necessary? How quickly can you, as an administrator of a blog, remove offensive or potentially compromising content?

Blog it here.

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Institutional considerations

Your school, university, institution or organisation will have its own policies and guidelines around safe internet use and the organisation’s image and you need to make sure you comply with them. It might also be a good idea to make sure that your leadership is educated about what Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and podcasts actually are and how they work so that they can make informed decisions about safe and appropriate use of the internet.

The International Centre for VET Teaching and Learning at TAFE NSW has developed some guidelines for using wikis and blogs (web page that takes you to a Word doc). Whilst I don’t agree there should be a default position for the type of community a teacher establishes for those under 18 (TAFE NSW recommends ‘semi-closed’ communities in these instances), the document nonetheless provides a good start for institutions trying to develop good practice for wikis and blogs.

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Exercise: Institutional guidelines

What policies or guidelines set out by your organisation will you have to take into account when using blogs in class? Are there rules about how your organisation is presented to the world? Will you have to make your organisation anonymous?

Blog it here.

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Good online citizenship

Whichever way you cut it, you must teach your students good online citizenship, even if you decide to not use blogs extensively in your teaching. You will have to cover the following topics, at least:

  • Intellectual property: facts and ideas, public domain, copyright, Creative Commons, fair use, use of images and other media, plagiarism
  • Defamation: freedom of expression, libel, opinion, racism, sexism, hearsay
  • Courtesy: offensiveness, appropriate online behaviour
  • Privacy: protecting your own, not infringing upon other’s

Legal guide for bloggers, Electronic Frontier Foundation (USA)

Clay Burrell lets parents choose the level of privacy and security for their child.

Welker’s Wikinomics has Rules of Conduct on the wiki’s homepage.

Mr Voight has a separate page for his Code of Conduct.

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Exercise: Set of online principles

Formulate a set of principles that you would use to teach students about good online citizenship. What would your principles cover in terms of IP? Defamation? Courtesy? Privacy?

Blog it here.

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Protecting student privacy

Especially when dealing with those under 18 years of age, make sure that you instruct students in the following:

  • Do not use an email address or username that identifies you
  • Make sure everything is password protected and that the password strength is high
  • Do not post photos of yourself, your school friends, your family, your home, your family car, your pets, etc.
  • Keep your account login details safe

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Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a new way of dealing with copyright. Whereas copyright is ‘all rights reserved’, Creative Commons allows you to release and license your work with ‘some rights reserved’. With a Creative Commons licence, you choose how you want your work to be used and distributed. It is a very flexible and sensible way of handling the use of your work.

Watch this YouTube video about how Creative Commons works, and why you might want to use it:

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Reflection

Write down your thoughts, discuss with a partner or small group in the class, or blog it!

  • What have I learnt?
  • What is still unclear?
  • What do I need to follow up on?
  • Where to from here?
  • What other stuff I have read or accessed to help me make sense of it all?

Blog it here.

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Links and resources

Technologies involved in Internet Risks

Legal guide for bloggers, Electronic Frontier Foundation (USA)

Guidelines for using wikis and blogs, International Centre for VET Teaching and Learning at TAFE NSW

Clay Burrell lets parents choose the level of privacy and security for their child.

Welker’s Wikinomics has Rules of Conduct on the wiki’s homepage.

Mr Voight has a separate page for his Code of Conduct.

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