What do Open Classrooms look like?
Students enrolling in open online courses should know exactly what will be expected of them as far as privacy is concerned. To that end, the following is a suggested statement to include in the syllabus of your open online course.
“As part of this course, you will be asked to participate in public spaces on the internet. For example, you may be asked to write a blog post, comment on someone else’s blog post, or post to online services like YouTube. You will create an account and a screen name for each of these services; it’s important to understand that the screen name you choose will be public to the world. If you don’t wish to use your real name, we suggest using your university username (your login username for Blackboard). If you feel the official university username identifies you too publicly, please contact your instructor to come up with an alternative.”
What does “Public” mean?
It is important to make sure your students understand the implications about being in an open course.
The following is an example from an ENGL 213X course FAQ. The course has its content and discussion on a public WordPress blog rather then inside Blackboard.
“This Course is an Open Course. What Does That Mean, Exactly?
This course is different from a course in Blackboard. No one can see a course in Blackboard unless they are enrolled in the course. This course is open for others to find and see on the web. It can be found through search engines, meaning that when you post to the discussion board, what you say is visible to others on the internet. No one outside this course may post to the discussion board, but they can read what you write.
It’s important for you to learn that (unless it’s a private journal) writing always takes place in a rather public context, and that often has an impact on the quality of student writing in a course like this one.
*Please note that your grades are recorded only in Blackboard. They cannot be seen by anyone other than you and myself.”
Copyright and Fair Use
If you ask your students to create presentations or other media that uses images, audio, or video clips, be sure to also remind them about copyright and fair use. Here is an example from an Intro to Photoshop class which requires image manipulation. Learn more about copyright and fair use.
Using an Alias
To be in compliance with FERPA standards a student may request to use an alias online to complete course assignments. Instructors should allow for this with the understanding that the alias and true user must be made known to the instructor for assessment purposes.
Example: Create an alias for WordPress Blog
The Internet is a huge, diverse place, and Netiquette, unless monitored by an administrator, is often left to the discretion of the user. Generally, there are no concrete set of guidelines. However, there are a few particularly common guidelines followed by today’s average, well-mannered Internet-user.
Example: Core rules of Netiquette