Another great #etmooc session this eve. Audrey Watters dropped some awesome thought bombs. She posed some challenging questions, as we move beyond the analog manilla envelope (like her mom collected of her school artefacts) into the digital realm and quintillions of bytes are collected daily.
How do students, teachers, administrators, schools, and governments decide who owns what, for what purpose?
Starting with the terms of service, which we admittedly all quickly click through without thoroughly inspecting who is giving and who is taking value. (TLDR= too long, didn’t read ~ TOSDR = terms of service, didn’t read!)
Issues of control, protection, privacy (anonymity, pseudonymity) are all factors. Now that so much of our learning is digital, it’s not only the data from our transcripts of our final grades that schools hold. Such good questions about the data that exists from our assignments, time on the LMS, time watching videos, number of attempts at quizzes, frequency of comments on blogs or discussion boards, chats, location and many more that boggled my mind thinking about.
Keeping something for future generations is the definition of posterity, which is deeply ironic given the announcement this week that the online blogging platform Posterous will be shut down next month. Again this highlights the importance of hosting one own’s data or at the very least maintaining your data in a format that is portable, mobile, in an open standard. This is intrinsically linked to the importance of keeping the web open so that our data can be machine and human readable on multiple platforms. We should be able to inspect and reflect on our own data, to be subjects not objects of our own research for our own purposes. In the matter of utility, we should be able to decide when to share our data and for what purpose.
Props were given to UMW’s Domain of One’s Own project, of which of course, I’m a big fan. Listening to Audrey discuss the issues, I’m ever more certain that even if you don’t want your data to be permanent, that agency is critical.
Audrey’s ideal solution is akin to a concept of the Personal Data Locker, where we have an open, standard login identity like OAuth. While Facebook and Google would love to hold the keys to our login identities, this control should belong to us so we are the masters of the many remnants of ourselves online. Managing your own data is a key literacy. Controlling your data is controlling your memories.
Shouldn’t we have the right to forget, delete, keep, own and share as we navigate the boundaries between private, public, and personal?