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Moodle Partner Network Expands to the Middle East with SmartWay

Moodle News - Hace 2 horas 18 mins
SmartWay, a professional IT and eLearning services provided in the Middle East that has 8 offices throughout the Arab community and Middle East, has been granted official Moodle Partner status by the...

Balancing the use of social media and privacy protection in online learning

OLDaily - Hace 16 horas 54 mins

Tony Bates, online learning and distance education resources, Jan 28, 2015

The United States, Russia, China and the U.K. are all classified as "Endemic surveillance societies." India and France follow close behind as "Systemic failure to uphold safeguards." So it's clear there's a problem. We probably can't fix it within educational technology, but we need to address it. Tony Bates does address it, but he does so largely from an institutional perspective. "Institutions want to protect students from personal data collection for commercial purposes by private companies, tracking of their online learning activities by government agencies, or marketing and other unrequested commercial or political interruption to their studies." The thing is, I don't think we can trust the institutions any more than I trust the governments or the companies.

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Categorías: General

Lecture Capture Fail

OLDaily - Hace 16 horas 54 mins

Bex Ferriday, Bex Ferriday's Edutechy Wonderland, Jan 28, 2015

Linking to an article by Mark Smithers called "Is lecture capture the  single worst educational technology use in higher education?" Bex Ferriday argues that the technology simply preserves what was bad in traditional education. "The thought of filming a 3 hour lecture then slapping it onto a virtual learning system and expecting students to watch this in their own time seems more like a punishment than a good idea.... By filming your 3 hour diatribe on connecting muscles in the lower leg once, you never have to repeat the lecture again! Just point students towards the film and bingo!"

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Categorías: General

iOS 8.1.3 Arrives

OLDaily - Hace 16 horas 54 mins

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch, Jan 28, 2015

So obviously some sort of work has been happening behind the scenes as Apple's operating system iOS 8.1.3 includes the following in today's update: "Adds new configuration options for Education standardized testing." It's not clear exactly what that means. None of the dozen or so sites I visited had any information over and above this exact phrase, and it's not mentioned at all in the 8.1.3 security update. I'd I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with tamper-proof content that can be used for testing. If you want to pursue the full list, here's everything.

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Categorías: General

The Internet of Things

OLDaily - Hace 16 horas 54 mins

FTC Staff, Federal Trade Commission, Jan 28, 2015

Released today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, this report (71 page PDF)  looks at the provacy and security implications of the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea behind the IoT is that devices and appliances can have their own internet connections and exchange information with online services. A good example is the FitBit, which a person wears on their wrist, and which exchanges information about movement and exercise with the online service. The IoT is incredibly useful, but security issues abound. The FTC report recommends building security into the devices from the outset. It also recommends full disclosure on any personal information being tracked. Companies should train their employees in security, and respond to security threats appropriately. Additionally, companies should limit the data they collect (this is a concept known as 'data minimization'). They're not recommending legislation at this point (it would be "premature") but as  Ars Technica points out, the FTC has the option of civil suits to encourage compliance.

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Categorías: General

Private Eye: See who’s tracking you online

OLDaily - Hace 16 horas 54 mins

Various authors, Mozilla, Jan 28, 2015

Today is Data Privacy Day, says Firefox, and to celebrate the moment they've launched Lightbeam: "Create a 'Wizard of Oz' moment by pulling back the curtain to see who’ s watching you on the Web. Turn on Mozilla’ s Lightbeam tool, visit a handful of websites to see who’ s tracking you, and then learn how to fight back. You’ ll never look at the Web the same way again!" I tried it out and it works quite well (you may need to reload the tool to get the graph to refresh). The circles are visited sites and the triangles are applications that are tracking you as you visit the sites.

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Categorías: General

How Digital Asset Management Makes Social Media More Effective at Baylor

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 22:52
Baylor University in Waco, TX, is the sixth most influential college on Instagram, according to College Atlas, and the university attributes this success to its digital asset management (DAM) solution. The technology enables Baylor staff to post professional photos to social media outlets within seconds, so people can easily follow academic and athletic news and events.

Syracuse Launches Online Master's in Communication

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 21:24
Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications has launched a new online master's degree focused on digital trends and communications industry innovations.

Blackboard Updates User Experience, Accessibility for Moodlerooms

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 19:48
Blackboard has updated Moodlerooms, its services for open source learning management system Moodle, with a new interface and improved functionality.

Christie Debuts Small Projectors for Large Spaces

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 18:56
Christie has announced the H Series: two 1DLP projectors that boast 12,000 lumens and weigh in at just 52.5 pounds.

Feds Warn of Risks to Sensitive Data on University Servers

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 18:03
The United States Department of Homeland Security is warning universities that their information-filled IT infrastructures might give hackers access to sensitive federal networks.

4 Lessons for Serving Adult Learners Online

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 17:00
At a school where the average age of students is 38, delivering online education requires a unique combination of tactics.

OpenCloudMesh Project Connects Private Research Clouds To Facilitate Collaboration

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 16:10
ownCloud has initiated a project that connects private research clouds to facilitate collaboration, communication and testing, while maintaining the security of those private clouds.

HowtoMoodle Explains Moodle in this short video

Moodle News - 28 Enero, 2015 - 15:06
Here’s a short 2 minute video that highlights a school or organization can think about Moodle and its various uses in and out of the classroom. A great primer for those who might not have...

Texas A&M U-Commerce Deploys Financial Aid System for Non-Traditional Students

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 14:40
Texas A&M University-Commerce has implemented a new financial aid management system to support its competency-based online degree, the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program.

French School Building Education Cloud for On-Demand Campuses

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 14:35
A business school based in France but with a campus in China as well is working with IBM to create a "smart business school" environment. Emlyon, with sites in Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Shanghai, hopes to deliver personalized education to its students through the cloud.

Grayson College Picks New Enterprise Resource Planning System

Campus Technology - 28 Enero, 2015 - 14:30
Grayson College in Denison, TX, has selected a new enterprise resource planning software in an effort to improve academic success for its 5,000 students and provide more accountability in its financial systems.

Porto Declaration on European MOOCs

Open Education Europa RSS - 28 Enero, 2015 - 11:13

During the HOME conference Mapping the European MOOC Territory held on 27 November 2014 in Porto, participants discussed and agreed the text of a declaration about MOOCs and the opportunities they present in Europe.

Interest Area:  Higher Education Training & Work Learning & Society

Dissertations on MOOCs published in 2014 | @Veletsianos

Educación flexible y abierta - 28 Enero, 2015 - 08:43

1. Congratulations to the following seven individuals who completed a doctoral degree in 2014. 2. It s always interesting to explore literature outside of peer-reviewed journals to explore how early career colleagues are thinking about a topic. 3.

See it on, via Educación flexible y abierta

Balancing the use of social media and privacy protection in online learning

Tony Bates - 28 Enero, 2015 - 01:21

Figure 9.9 Privacy ranking by Privacy International, 2007
Red: Endemic surveillance societies
Strong yellow: Systemic failure to uphold safeguards
Pale yellow: Some safeguards but weakened protections

This is the last of the SECTIONS criteria for selecting media for my online open textbook, Teaching in a Digital World. The last ‘S’ stands for Security and Privacy.

This is a change from earlier versions of the SECTIONS model, where ‘S’ stood for speed, in terms of how quickly a technology enabled a course to be developed.. However, the issues that I previously raised under speed have been included in Section 9.3, ‘Ease of Use’. This has allowed me to replace ‘Speed’ with ‘Security and privacy’, which have become increasingly important issues for education in a digital age.

9.9.1 The need for privacy and security when teaching

Instructors and students need a private place to work online. Instructors want to be able to criticize politicians or corporations without fear of reprisal; students may want to keep rash or radical comments from going public or will want to try out perhaps controversial ideas without having them spread all over Facebook. Institutions want to protect students from personal data collection for commercial purposes by private companies, tracking of their online learning activities by government agencies, or marketing and other unrequested commercial or political interruption to their studies. In particular, institutions want to protect students, as far as possible, from online harassment or bullying. Creating a strictly controlled environment enables institutions to manage privacy and security more effectively.

Learning management systems provide password protected access to registered students and authorised instructors. Learning management systems were originally housed on servers managed by the institution itself. Password protected LMSs on secure servers have provided that protection. Institutional policies regarding appropriate online behaviour can be managed more easily if the communications are managed ‘in-house.’

9.9.2 Cloud based services and privacy

However, in recent years, more and more online services have moved ‘to the cloud’, hosted on massive servers whose physical location is often unknown even to the institution’s IT services department. Contract agreements between an educational institution and the cloud service provider are meant to ensure security and back-ups.

Nevertheless, Canadian institutions and privacy commissioners have been particularly wary of data being hosted out of country, where it may be accessed through the laws of another country. There has been concern that Canadian student information and communications held on cloud servers in the USA may be accessible via the U.S. Patriot Act. For instance, Klassen (2011) writes:

Social media companies are almost exclusively based in the United States, where the provisions of the Patriot Act apply no matter where the information originates. The Patriot Act allows the U.S. government to access the social media content and the personally identifying information without the end users’ knowledge or consent.
The government of British Columbia, concerned with both the privacy and security of personal information, enacted a stringent piece of legislation to protect the personal information of British Columbians. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) mandates that no personally identifying information of British Columbians can be collected without their knowledge and consent, and that such information not be used for anything other than the purpose for which it was originally collected.

Concerns about student privacy have increased even more when it became known that countries were sharing intelligence information, so there remains a risk that even student data on Canadian-based servers may well be shared with foreign countries.

Perhaps of more concern though is that as instructors and students increasingly use social media, academic communication becomes public and ‘exposed’. Bishop (2011) discusses the risks to institutions in using Facebook:

  • privacy is different from security, in that security is primarily a technical, hence mainly an IT, issue. Privacy needs a different set of policies that involves a much wider range of stakeholders within an institution, and hence a different (and more complex) governance approach from security;
  • many institutions do not have a simple, transparent set of policies for privacy, but different policies set by different parts of the institution. This will inevitably lead to confusion and difficulties in compliance;
  • there is a whole range of laws and regulations that aim to protect privacy; these cover not only students but also staff; privacy policy needs to be consistent across the institution and be compliant with such laws and regulation.
  • Facebook’s current privacy policy (2011) leaves many institutions using Facebook at a high level of risk of infringing or violating privacy laws – merely writing some kind of disclaimer will in many cases not be sufficient to avoid  breaking the law.

The controversy at Dalhousie University where dental students used Facebook for violent sexist remarks about their fellow women students is an example of the risks endemic in the use of social media.

9.9.3 The need for balance

Although there may well be some areas of teaching and learning where it is essential to operate behind closed doors, such as in some areas of medicine or areas related to public security, or in discussion of sensitive political or moral issues, in general though there have been relatively few privacy or security problems when teachers and instructors have opened up their courses, have followed institutional privacy policies, and above all where students and instructors have used common sense and behaved ethically. Nevertheless, as teaching and learning becomes more open and public, the level of risk does increase.

9.9.4 Questions for consideration

1. What student information am I obliged to keep private and secure? What are my institution’s policies on this?

2. What is the risk that by using a particular technology my institution’s policies concerning privacy could easily be breached? Who in my institution could advise me on this?

3. What areas of teaching and learning, if any, need I keep behind closed doors, available only to students registered in my course? Which technologies will best allow me to do this?

Over to you

1. I couldn’t find more recent references on this issue than 2011, when it seemed to be a hot topic. Has anything significantly changed with regard to privacy and social media in education since 2011 that I should be aware of? Or have our institutions nailed it regarding sensible policies and practices? (Did I hear guffaws?) References would be particularly welcome.

2. If anyone would like to share their experiences regarding privacy issues as a result of using social media for teaching, please either send me an e-mail (for privacy reasons) or share a comment on this post.

Up next

The final section on Chapter 9: Making decisions about what media to use. This will suggest a relatively simple approach for what is in effect a highly complex topic.

Yes, I know, you just can’t wait for this final episode. Keep tuned to this station.


Bishop, J. (2011)  Facebook Privacy Policy: Will Changes End Facebook for Colleges? The Higher Ed CIO, October 4

Klassen, V. (2011) Privacy and Cloud-­Based  Educational Technology in British Columbia Vancouver BC: BCCampus

See also:

Bates, T. (2011) Cloud-based educational technology and privacy: a Canadian perspective, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources,, March 25