Monday, August 30, 2010

Big Teacher is Watching

So the school associated with the library where I work uses a course management software called Blackboard, and I recently attended a little orientation on it (not that I have to use it very much).

And here's a fascinating thing I learned: if you're the instructor, you can set it up such that you can have a record of every time your students log in, which of the course materials they look at, and for how long.

The guy teaching us about Blackboard was filled with enthusiasm for these options, but it struck me as a little creepy.

I mean, I can see how it would be handy, if you have a student who says the reason they did badly on a test was because they were sick, to be able to say "hmm...perhaps the fact that you have not looked at a single one of the assigned readings contributed to that ailment."

But I also remember when I was in library school I took an ethics course, and one of the case studies we looked at was something like "a professor at your academic institution suspects that students aren't doing their reading, and asks if you can keep track of which of them check out the Reserve material and report back."

Obviously, librarian ethics prohibit any such thing. Patron privacy is a sacred trust!

Professor/student privacy, not such a major thing.

Still, kind of creepy, right?

So anyway, students, be aware that your every in-course move may be monitored. Put in the time to at least sign in and pretend to look at the readings before feigning illness (or actually getting sick).



brian said...

I'll have to remember this advice when I start my next graduate degree, errrr. NOT!!

I took a small ALA/RUSA course (which was Blackboard platform) - alas, I longed for the days of Horizon Wimba - we did have it good at Alabama didn't we?? :-)

A'Llyn said...

I bet Wimba probably did the same thing, come to think of it. Good thing I always signed in and did the readings! Repeatedly!