The Dark Side
George Orwell's book, 1984 is required reading! What does this
have to do with courses on the Web? Everything. If we can
get education on the Web, we can control the population. Who is the "we"?
Well we don't know yet and we may never know, but the point is merely
that we lose control, we lose individuality, and someone or something
has control over our lives. Sure the media, newspapers and television, have
a measure of control; the government another measure;
e-commerse is gaining its market share, but education on-line
will complete the deal.
You've already got financial records on file, medical records, and buying
habits. Now we (or somebody) will have all of your educational/learning
records on file. I'm not just talking about your transcripts. I'm talking
about every paper you submit, every answer on an exam, every response
in a discussion, and every click of your mouse.
What can you do about it short of dropping out of school and heading for the
hills? Here's a list of preventative measures:
- Put a copyright notice on all of your "papers" and submissions: "Copyright 2000
John Student." This helps to ensure your legal ownership of the materials.
- Ask your teacher and/or course administrator about their policies regarding the
intellectual property rights of student materials.
- Ask where the course materials are stored, that is, the physical location of the
computer and the media on which it is stored. Is it on the instructor's server
in his or her office, on a university server somewhere on campus, or
on a commercial server somewhere off-campus
(e.g., AOL, Real Education, Microsoft). If it is off-campus ask about the
ownership of the materials and
ask who, other than the instructor, has or will have access to those
materials and other sensitive materials like your grades.
- Send an email to the system administrator asking them not release
any of your information or files to any third party without your express
- After the course is over, ask to have a copy of your files for your records,
ask to have them and all information about you
purged from the system, and only backed up to removable media locked
away in the instructor's safe.
Copyright 2000, Web Manual Group