Mastodon Social Media Instances of Interest

The Mastodon social networks have attracted a lot more attention recently. I posted on concepts behind Mastodon, ActivityPub, and this federated style of social media a few years ago. To help anyone that is thinking of trying out Mastodon, the rest of this post highlights some Mastodon communities (instances) that are worth your while to look into. There is also a very good quick start guide, which although written with humanities scholars in mind, is largely applicable to anyone.

Finally, see this great page of academic Mastodon groups, user lists by discipline, and communities/instances. You can also try this Find Academics on Mastodon site for discovering accounts.

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Creative Commons Workshop for Concordia Students

If you’d like to learn how to get, collaborate on, and share open access research or creative content with Creative Commons (CC) licences, then you should register for my next workshop happening on Tuesday, 26 October (during Open Access Week 2021).

The workshop will help you get a better understanding of how to find CC-licensed materials, which you can use for research purposes, in presentations, and for a broad variety of creative applications. You will also learn about open access issues and the impact of using these licences for your own work.

Companies Can’t Just Put Surveillance Tech into Libraries

There’s a good read about a few oligopolistic publishers that proposed unethical surveillance technologies for academic libraries. I thought that the original article, while addressing a lot and from a variety of people, was missing some perspective from librarians on the subject. I wrote some points about this third-party potential for breaching confidentiality in a library and an ethical approach from librarians on my other blog.

Proctorio Legal Aggression

A Learning Technology Specialist at UBC was rightly critical of Proctorio so the company is suing him. Considering the ethical, technical or other transgressions of automated test proctoring/surveillance tools like Proctorio, it’s worth thinking about how this situation is unfolding. He’s set up a GoFundMe campaign for some support and if successful, proceeds would go to the BC Civil Liberties Association.

There’s a good blog post, In Defence of Ian Linkletter, which explains the situation.

I think it’s worth noting, in Linkletter’s message about the suit, he explains: “This kind of lawsuit, in which a company like Proctorio sues an outspoken critic like me, is sometimes referred to as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation: or “SLAPP”. SLAPP lawsuits are a threat to freedom of expression.” [emphasis mine]

Think about Algorithmic Test Proctoring

Read Shea Swauger’s article, Our Bodies Encoded: Algorithmic Test Proctoring in Higher Education. It identifies deep concerns about algorithmic test proctoring. Right now, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to quickly adapt to different ways of doing things, students are facing their final exams. Within universities, I know many people at all levels that are working incredibly hard to find ways to support students and help them successfully complete what they set out to do. Students ought to inform themselves on this issue and listen carefully to all of the options, which the university is providing them.

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Creative Commons Certificate Program

If you have an interest in learning more about the Creative Commons and open access licensing issues. This year, the Creative Commons began offering an online certificate program, which helps you learn about all things CC. It started as a sort of beta offer but has matured. The certificate originally targeted educators and librarians, which got my interest so I signed up

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