SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, February 21, 2007

News & Product Updates

Cornell Forms Committee to Examine Use of Facebook

Cornell University has formed a Facebook Task Force to help make decisions on how and whether the college should educate students on safely using social networking sites, the Ithacan Online campus news service reported. The committee, composed of 12 members of the faculty, two administrators, and three students, will also look at ways the college might use Facebook to get information to students and to create a protocol in determining whether to examine Facebook for safety and security reasons.

Brian McAree, vice president of Student Affairs and Campus Life, told the Ithacan that the task force was developed because they decided it was an issue worth looking into, not for any specific situation or reason.

"One of the things we have seen over the [last] couple of years is when room assignments go out in the summer, students go to see who their roommate is on Facebook," he said. "Then all of a sudden they may conclude that they are not going to be comfortable with this person as a roommate, and so they call Residential Life."

At the committee's first meeting last week, the group discussed whether the university’s public safety staff should regularly go on Facebook or MySpace to look for violations of the student conduct code or the law. McAree said the task force is looking to develop protocols for how Public Safety should respond. "The question that we are posing to ourselves is should we be on Facebook on a regular basis," he said. "To be honest, I don't think we have the time or personnel to do that."

More info

Middlebury Bans Wikipedia as Academic Source

Vermont's Middlebury College has banned the use of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as an acceptable source of academic information for students at Vermont's Middlebury College, United Press International reported.

The open-source, free encyclopedia lets anyone create and edit citations, which has resulted in the publication of incorrect information. Because of the errors, Middlebury's history department recently instituted the ban. Because of errors, Middlebury's history department instituted a policy that says, "Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source," according to Vermont-based Burlington Free Press.

But writing in the Middlebury Campus student newspaper, undergrad Chandler Koglmeier said, "are you really arrogant enough to say that the opinions of the general public, albeit a general public who cares enough to get on Wikipedia and post about a specific topic, don't matter? To me, this stinks of the beginnings of censorship."

The Wikipedia Foundation supports the new policy, the Free Press said. In an e-mail to the newspaper, the foundation said it is an "ideal place to start" for students; "however, it is not an authoritative source."

More info

Pittsburgh Art Institute Opens Campus in Second Life

One week after announcing an online social network to facilitate collaboration, the Pittsburgh Art Institute said it was opening a student campus in Second Life, the virtual business community.

Second Life will be a forum for a new business communications course, according to the art school, that will involve "learning by doing," as well as simulation-based learning. "By providing real-world objects and scenarios, students will be able to experiment with business processes and techniques of the real world in a virtual environment," according to the school.

The impetus for opening the virtual community came from the students: "An environment such as this takes advantage of lateral and community-based learning," said Jeannie Novak, academic program director at The Art Institute Online. "We are always striving to create that within our current 2D online courses, and this certainly takes lateral learning to the next level."

Instructors say the Second Life class experience is particularly enhanced for online learners. "Students will always know they're taking a course," said Novak. "But they'll be playing a game in the process, which is what serious gaming is all about."

More info

comments powered by Disqus

Campus Technology News

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.