Educamp ’09 – Morning Keynotes

Today I’m at Educamp ’09 at UBC

As is my predilection for these types of things, I’m taking notes here on my blog. It probably won’t be terribly interesting for most readers, so feel free to skip this.   I’m sure I’ll write more about hotties again tomorrow.

Keynote #1:   Richard Rosenberg, Prof Emeritus in Comp Sci

Topic:               Copyright, Freedom of Information & Portection of Privacy/Patriot Act

  • he cares about privacy, but kids don’t, so he has no idea how to get this information to students
  • Web 2.0 – less top down stuff   (
  • so we need to educate people what are good sources of information, what aren’t good sources and how to tell the difference
  • it’s pretty amazing how the Internet can reliably complete transmissions even when parts of the system are down
  • the word “friend” has a whole new meaning on social networks
  • now there’s a bit of a tirade of your pictures of bar hopping will be on the Internet forever and potential employers will find them
  • recently the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) stopped attempting to prosecute people for downloading copyrighted music – they sued people for awhile, but it didn’t seem to scare people enough to stop them, so they stopped prosecuting
  • much of the illegal downloading of copyrighted material took place at colleges and universities
  • copyright is a model from a different age
  • the idea was originally that a creator benefited from their creation for a “reasonable” period of time (your lifetime? your lifetime plus a bit?) and then it went into the public domain… but not copyright is extended longer and longer
  • privacy issues:
  • widespread use of video cameras in public spaces – is it your right to not have your activities monitored?  apparently there are going to be a lot of cameras around the city for the Olympics and then the cameras are being given to the city
  • England is the most camera covered country, but only car thefts have decreased (no other crimes) since the addition of these cameras
  • RFID chips being put into things – e.g., your driver’s license – again, your actions being tracked
  • most private vehicles have “black boxes” like planes – there’s no law saying you have to have it, but they are often installed in new cars
  • DNA database for use in criminal and other investigations
  • employee privacy rights – Internet monitoring – watching to see what you are doing on work time
  • growth in large databases, public and private – there is a lot of information about you out there
  • ongoing response to international terrorism and its potentially devastating impact on individual privacy (Patriot Act – get lots of information about you without needing a court order) – important for students/educators as lots of our e-data is being held on servers located in the States, which makes them subject to the Patriot Act
  • identity theft – all this info is out there, people can steal it!
  • data mining – started in grocery stores (when, where and what you purchase –> ways to sell more stuff), but now there’s more info to be data mining
  • war on “terrorism” isn’t like a normal war – there’s no end (who is going to sign the treaty to end the war?) – so we can expect to see things like the USA PATRIOT ACT (that’s an acronym, btw) around for a while
  • Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act has only been used once since it was enacted in 2001
  • teens & privacy – 55% of online teens have a profile on some social network , 66% say they limit it in some way; lots say they put up fake info about themselves (either to protect themselves or to be silly)
  • Google’s Latitude – your cell phone used to track you and tell others where you are
  • Bank of America has a $8.4 million deal with U of Michigan to give their students’ info to the BoA to try to get them to get credit cards (and even get money when students carry a balance on those credit cards!!)
  • no federal privacy laws in the US

Keynote #2:   Brian Lamb, UBC Office of Learning Technology
Topic: Open Learning

  • – all his stuff will be here, ‘cuz he won’t get through all the info he has
  • not focusing on altruism, or the fact that we are a publicly-funded institution, so our stuff should be available to be the public
  • will focus on practicality issues
  • Wikipedia – why do people put so much work into this for free (it’s not even done for tenure review!)?
  • Murder, Madness & Mayhem project – prof of Latin American studies who used to say “don’t look at Wikipedia, the info there sucks” – and it did for his area – so he got into Wikipedia as an editor, then sent students there to improve (or in some cases, create) entries on the books & authors they were studying and make them good
  • they were attempting to get “feature article” status, which is really difficult to get
  • while they were writing this, they were negotiating their info with others out on the open web – a bunch of people came out of nowhere to help (gave technical, instructional support – copy editing, content experts to interrogate their information)
  • students aren’t just handing in a paper that one person marked – hundreds of thousands of people are reading these – they are a lasting public resource; they were doing scholarship with a public benefit, not just doing a simulation of scholarship/knowledge creation
  • fast, cheap and out of control
  • fast – nothing to install, very quick training,
  • cheap – no license fees
  • out of control – some risk in going out into the web
  • not displacing traditional skills (still need to write clearly, cite appropriate sources, etc.)
  • these students are now very skilled at assessing how good a Wikipedia (or other source) article is
  • MIT OpenCourseware – all of MIT course materials are digitized, put on the web for free, with an open license that allows use
  • worry that people won’t want to go to MIT since all their info is out there just did not happen (some slight increase in donations)
  • what’s important about going to a school is not the textbook or the lecture notes; it’s the interaction (with other students, with instructors), the feedback you get, etc.
  • if just having access to info was the same as education, then “having a library card would be equivalent to having a university degree”
  • when an online course is over, you don’t have access to it anymore; and you can never link back to it – why not put your stuff up there

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