This is a mini response to Richard's "The great Blackboard Facebook mash-up: part two". The issues that Richard refers to in his post have been occupying my thoughts to recently.
I must admit i find myself being a bit blaze about the situation because the massive educational advantages are so strong that it seems criminal not to leverage these fantastic tools to best advantage. With all the talk of security, safety & legalities it's got the whole 'health and safety legislation' feel to it where for either honest or obstructive reasons the most important aspect of education the learning is stifled and creativity nullified.
That said, we at DMU just like any other organisations need to stop skirting around the issue and really identify what the problems are. Are there issues - well let's nail it down one way or the other and start developing some policies - i think i working group needs to look into this.
So where is the security threat coming from? is it from Hackers or from the organizations that are providing the service. I am just about to post messages in various learning networks i am involved with along the lines of "have you ever experienced i case of hacking into your social networking site, wiki or blog". This threat is often spouted, but i have not heard of this being a big problem at all.
So with regard personal data, contributions, data tracking of activity, my question is who is the real danger from? Strikes me that if my first theory is not a big problem then the threat comes from the organizations offering the web 2.0 services.
So institutions like ourselves need to scrutinize privacy policies of sites like blogger, facebook or maybe just google and yahoo! We might find an unpalatable truth that there is not a great deal that can be done, and then choices have to be made.
One choice is creating your own social network with a trusted partner or in house, which can achieve a lot and be effective, but this will not get away from the isolationist approach that will deny access to the world and vice versa.
wrapped up in all of this are personal privacy, security and safety of individual students and the many legal issues that will be faced by institutions and individuals. So do we blaze on ahead with no regard, shy away from the educational advantages or develop a policy that can address any concerns?
ps: on the specific point about retrospectively deleting comments - if you withdraw from a site. If you make a comment, then that's it part of history done - it's part of the conversation - would be a bit strange to me to retrospectively keep stripping comments out when people leave a site. This is one of the issues that students need to be aware of - it is difficult to take things back, comments, photos, videos etc - so be careful about what you are doing?