quarta-feira, 26 de maio de 2010



Activity 4: Taking part in a debate on Transparency versus Privacy in online education

Dear colleagues

Before I begin my argumentation, I would like to call your attention to the fact that this debate is about Transparency vs. Privacy in online education, NOT about Transparency vs. Privacy in our private lives.

So, I think that there is no point in defending thesis 2, by Túlio Vianna, "The right to privacy, conceived as a triad of rights - the right not to be monitored, right not to be registered and right not to be recognized (right not to have personal records published) - transcends, in the informational society, the limits of mere right of private interest to become a ground of democratic rule of law", because as students, Universidade Aberta and our teachers have the right and the obligation to monitor us, register us and recognize us.

So, let's debate.

I belong to Team 3, so I must argue in favour of more privacy in online education.
First of all, I think that each one of us should be able to decide the level of transparency we want for this course, but in our case it was not possible to decide so, because we could not choose if we wanted (or not) to publish our work in a blog that everybody around the world can read. We just were told to do so.

I quote Activity 3A from "Módulo de Ambientação": "A ferramenta que iremos utilizar para o desenvolvimento desta actividade é o blogue. (...) Este blogue deverá ser utilizado para publicar conteúdos das unidades curriculares do curso que o exijam", which means: "The tool that we will use for the development of this activity is the blog. This blog will be used to publish the content of curricular units that require it".

Personally, I see no harm in doing so, and I publish most of my activities on my blog and on Facebook, but in defense of privacy in online education, I think we should have been asked.

Privacy on the Internet is something that no one can guarantee for us. We must ensure it ourselves. And we can do so by posting our work in pdf files that not allow copy/paste, not revealing aspects of our private life in our publications, and asking permission to the teacher to deliver our work strictly to him, if we don't want that someone else can read or see our work.

I think a student should have the right to do so.

Like Prof. Morten said on MPEL Conference, "Are we supposed to teach everybody around the world?"

Dear Cecília

Of course I understand what you mean by quoting Prof. Túlio Lima Vianna. However, I still believe that the main issue of this debate should be focused on privacy related to online education and not on privacy related to our private life.

About your question "what must transpire (for all) and what should be just in private", I think we can't speak in the name of others, but each one of us should decide what he feels comfortable to reveal.

Anyway, I think that I should be arguing with our Team 2 opponents and not with our dear chairer.

A big hug, Cecília

Dear colleagues

I would like to make one thing clear: transparency and privacy do not eliminate each other. They can and they must cohabit on online education and students should be free to decide which one they prefer. In many cases, the same student chooses transparency in one particular context and privacy on another. And he must be free to do so.

I believe that we do not have to know many details about our fellow colleagues to work with them. I don't need to know their age, or if they are married or not, how many children they have got, or where they leave.
Nowadays, there is an excess of voyeurism about other people's lives.

I believe also that I will not learn less if I decide to keep my privacy. Even so, it's still possible to belong to a learning community and to develop a successful work.

I believe that citizens should have the right to choose whatever they want to. So, I cannot accept that someone imposes transparency if I do not want it, saying that otherwise I wouldn't give it a chance. I have the right to say NO. Perhaps, later I would change my mind, but in that particular moment, I should be free to make my own decision.

"We can't discuss transparency or privacy just thinking about ourselves." Yes, we can, Margarida.
If I am very shy, I do not want that other people can see my work.
If I am very competitive, I do not want that other people can learn from my work.
If my work has been plagiarized, I do not want that it happens again.
If I've been hampered by revealing my ideas or my personal details in my work, I will not let it happen again.
And this must be respected.

That's all I claim: freedom of choice and respect for that decision.

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