Blog Post

Q&A Response Activity: Teaching Students About Privacy

One of the questions we had during the Q&A of our session was how do we help students navigate privacy issues in learning spaces augmented with social/digital media. There was a specific request for examples to walk students through this. Here is what I do. I'd love to hear from others.
At the beginning of courses I either have required or optional media projects that might engage with social media. These interactions, as far as I've found in my research, are in the gray when it comes to FERPA in the US. Additionally, the students are using sites and services that are outside of class, and often privately held. They enter into legal agreements with these companies. To create and engage in digital projects and spaces  the students sign an "Interactive Project Release Form". It is not legally binding (I think?? I mean, if the world operates like websites it totally is), but it gets students to think about the work they agree to do in classes and what the risks might be. In addition to this project release form, we discuss what it means to do required digital work while having a digital identity and footprint.
Suggested Readings:
Hogan, Bernie. “Pseudonyms and the Rise of the Real-Name Web.” A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012): 290-308.
Gillespie, Tarleton. “Designed to ‘effectively frustrate’: copyright, technology and the agency of users.” New Media & Society 8.4 (2006): 651-669.
The Terms of Service from at least 1 to 2 social media sites or services (i.e. iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, snapchat, Tinder, Grindr, instagram, etc.)
The day they come to class after the readings, I hand out the release, they read it, we have a class discussion about privacy, rights, ownership, limits, what we understand and don't understand, and then, because I am in the wonderful position of power as the professor, they all sign the release... but I hope that as they move forward, they might pause for a moment before they check the box that says they agree to the terms and conditions of the site.

Release Template

Interactive Projects Release Form 
Course Name:________________________________________________________
Department and Course Number:_________________________________________
I hereby consent to the saving and digital redistribution of projects completed by myself,
(Please print name)
I consent to being involved with class projects that take place on social media as
Legal Name
Pseudonym _________________________________________
                               (Please provide pseudonym)
I understand that all material obtained will be used by the instructors at ________________________________ for educational and related purposes, including external distribution and sharing in various digital formats through distributions services such as YouTube, SoundCloud, Vine, Twitter, Wordpress, etc. I understand that by using these services I am agreeing to their Terms of Service.
This agreement does not in any way affect the ownership of rights of the content presented in projects. I agree that nothing in my projects infringes the copyright of any third-party.
I understand I will receive no compensation for my consent to participate in this class.
I have read this form and have the opportunity to ask questions about it. I agree to be bound by this consent form.
Signature: ____________________________________________ Date: ___________________


Jade, this is incredibly helpful. Thank you for sharing the release form template and for delineating the classroom exercise. Did you ever face challenging questions from your students? Were there any questions they raised about copy right etc. that you didn't have the answer to (and were there resources at Duke you could turn to to answer those more difficult questions)?


So, no, no pushback really.  I think it's not something that gets a lot of thought time so the assignment was designed to be something we come back to throughout the semester. So I teach and then say  "remember when we talked about this" to remind them to think twice.  The class rule was they needed to use things that were creative commons licensed and that those licenses were properly used. They did get grade deductions if they didn't do that.. so there was an incentive for them to try to remember, and if they didn't remember, they never forgot after that.

I know there are courses at UNC on media law. I imagine that there are similar courses at Duke that are designed for students who aren't law students too. If you can grab a syllabus from one of those, that would be a good place to get started!

And a basic understanding of fair use is really central too.

Hope that helps!