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ServerPolicy

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago

 

Below is an email posted on the L-RhetComp listserv about a server policy at Penn State University


 

Digital Rhetors,

 

I love the smell of digital democracy in the morning.

 

Jenny and Jay raise excellent points: Digital pedagogy and our students will determine the uses and yes, even abuses of emerging information technologies, and not a centralized policy generated elsewhere. As Jenny's reference to Drupal indicates, this is an academic freedom issue: as instructors charged with the (joyful) task of teaching our students digital rhetoric, an art that demands flexibility and autonomous response-ability, we must have the flexibility and autonomy to choose our tools and our texts accordingly. Because a tool like Drupal inflects and impacts student learning as much as any particular content, it must be teachers and not administrators who make the call here. "We are...The Deciders."

 

And we shall continue to be said "Deciders." Stuart is correct that there is plenty of interpretative freedom here in the policy. For example, I am proud to say that none of my teaching proceeds "normally", since I seek to teach my students how to overcome themselves and their contexts and create extra-ordinary work. And since our wiki pedagogy, as taught in this year's 602, includes extensive discussion of intellectual property and privacy issues, with a focus on the Creative Commons, we can all share tactics for protecting student privacy and intellectual property in a way that prepares them for digital ecologies. We have had zero issues with student privacy or intellectual property from our thousands of students using wikis. In short, The College and ITS has no business regulating our curriculum, and fortunately the policy is so vague and unenforceable that they will not do so. This is the real issue and it is not "abstract" - the very existence of any policy created by administrators not involved in the teaching of these courses must be contested, and will be. This is middle management bloat, pure and simple. This is not a critique of either John Harwood or Jack Selzer, because I count them both as friends and colleagues. But there are real effects driven by our different locations in the university.

 

This of course begs the question of why such a policy has emerged at all, since I know that Dean Selzer and others are very busy with other issues. Many posters have rightly asked about the exigence of this policy. Well, students pay an information tech fee each semester. Most if not all of ITS's tools are available for free or very low cost on the Internet, so another question begins to be begged: Why are students paying for services (such as Webmail) available for free on the web? ITS rightly recognizes that it has serious and free competition for many of it services, so in the absence of any other causal explanation, this certainly appears to be what economists call "monopolistic behavior."

 

In situations like this, I like to create a wiki on-the-fly, and this is not available through PSU, so I am posting this to a wiki hosting our digital proposal for Penn State, circulated here and elsewhere over the past two years.

 

http://digitalproposal.pbwiki.com/ServerPolicy


 

Digital Decide, not Digital Divide!!! (of course, that depends who's doing the deciding!)

 

 

 

 

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