Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't be Freaked by Chronicle Article

Andrea Foster's recent Chronicle article titled "New Systems Keep a Close Eye on Online Students at Home" is intended to get attention, but not intended to accurately tell you what is going to happen regarding the Higher Ed Act language about distance learning. After reading it more carefully, I can see now that there is nothing new being reported in this article. All of this doom and gloom about distance student authentication has been talked about for over a year now. I've used the Troy University Big Brother device several times in presentations and here in the blog to point out how completely absurd all of this is.

This post from Nov. 2006 basically provides much of the same info that is in the Chronicle article. A second post in July 2007 looks at the first blush of the language that was written into the higher ed act. A few days ago I posted the clarifying language that is currently attached to the bill. Right after that Foster's article was posted at the Chronicle website and all hell broke loose on several technology listservs and the like.

Settle down people. Foster is basically correct in what she says, but notice that she doesn't say that Congress is going to require these devices - BECAUSE THEY AREN'T. She says that the language "could lead distance-education institutions to require spy cameras in their students' homes." True enough, it could, but it won't. Notice that she has no quotes from anyone who is working on the bill. I'm sure she doesn't even know that there is clarifying language that basically says distance students need to be authenticated with a username and password every time they log in to do coursework.

In my opinion, the only thing the Chronicle article does is shows plainly how ridiculous some of these measures are. 360 degree cameras in everyone's home? In the immortal words of George H.W. Bush, "NOT gonna hapen, NOT gonna happen."

1 comment:

Sneezy said...

Wasn't the not gonna happen quote immortalized because it did?

Not saying it will, of course. :)