Back in the saddle again

In my head I’m singing “back in the saddle again!” Here I go again…I can’t say that I missed writing on my blog during my few weeks of respite between COETAIL courses, but there was a time or two when I found myself thinking “I could write that on my blog!” So maybe I am coming around to blogging after all…or maybe not.

We had our first Face to Face meeting for our course a week ago. I am definitely a fan of classes that combine both an online component, but also still add a F2F component as well. What can I say, maybe it’s the counselor in me!

One of the activities that we did in our F2F meeting was to read and examine the Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) at our respective school levels. It was interesting the format we used, which did not allow for ‘cross-talk’ during the activity. One person picked out a statement or part of the AUP that struck them, the others in the group were allowed to say one or two sentences about it (taking turns) but no one was allowed to comment or interrupt. I’m not sure that this format was my favorite, but I could see times when it might be a useful way to facilitate a discussion in groups.

Reading the AUP for the middle school, there was a part of it that I found very interesting (as did others in my group based on their comments!). The Middle School AUP states:

Online safety is a personal responsibility. It is important that students are aware of the implications of their actions online, both to themselves and to others. The actions students take in social networking areas like MySpace, Facebook, or others, can impact their university applications, job searches, and overall reputation. It can also provide sensitive information to online predators.

What I found myself wondering as I read that is where do kids learn this ‘personal responsibility’ from? Who’s responsibility is it to teach the kids what that means and what it looks like? I wonder if because it’s part of the AUP, does that mean the school/curriculum has a responsiblity to ensure that each student is equipped with the knowledge and skills to keep his/her online profile safe and practice good digital citizenship?

More and more this concern is coming up. There are companies now that can help you ‘clean up’ your image online. More and more employers are searching online for information about prospective employees. For some time now, colleges and universities have begun utilizing online information when examining admission applications. Articles like Protecting Your Digital Footprint and Your Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Search are being seen more and more.

Much of this centers around the social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook. These sites bring up the issue and concern of privacy. This concept of privacy and what it means today is something I have been giving a lot of thought lately…but those thoughts will have to wait until my next post!

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