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.

Continue reading “Think about Algorithmic Test Proctoring”

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 certificates.creativecommons.org

I went into the course feeling like I knew a lot about the Creative Commons. But I want to recommend it because it turned out that not only did I learn a fair amount, I got a better understanding of what I thought I knew.

I’ve put a few of the things that I worked on during the program on this blog.

The course spans ten weeks and has regular assignments and discussions. I wouldn’t say that the assignments were especially difficult but they require some reflection, creativity, and time. I decided to use/learn different tools or applications for each one so that probably made it a bit more difficult than necessary but it was also fun to try.

The Creative Commons has opened up the course to more people and is accepting applications for the start of 2019. You should look into it if you have any interest in open access issues and the Creative Commons.

Open Access Week 2018

International Open Access Week spans 22 – 28 of October this year. It’s a great time to find out more about open access initiatives that you can both benefit from and participate in.

Open Access enables people to learn from a much greater commons of research and knowledge than would otherwise be possible. It’s a movement very much inline with the missions of libraries and with the research life cycle. Without open access we’re left with a scholarly ecosystem dependent on a few powerful commercial interests. Those commercial interests tend to control or prevent access except for the parties able to pay the most. A detriment to access-to-knowledge and research.

At Concordia, my colleagues and I have been organizing a screening of the film, Paywall: the Business of Scholarship.  We’re following it up with a discussion/Q&A session so that people can get a better sense of what’s happening at Concordia.

Here is a nice article about OA at Concordia. More about our event here, it’s on Tuesday evening, doors open at 5 (film starts at 5:30) and it’s FREE, so come. I’ve discovered that a lot of other universities are holding a similar event so if you miss it at Concordia, you can probably find it somewhere else nearby.

Find out more about open access by following these links:

Paywall Is A Compelling Documentary, Advocates OA

Last Friday night, I watched the new documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship. If you’re involved in research, scholarly communication, or even just concerned with the availability of knowledge (especially as it results from public funding), then I recommend watching this film. You can easily stream it and, in-line with its subject matter, it will not cost you anything.

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Switch to a Mastodon Social Network

The Mastodon social network system is the most promising advance I’ve seen recently toward establishing a better, more compelling social networking system.

I’ll explain why I think it’s worth leaving closed networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. for Mastodon. I’d also like to say a little about how Mastodon works and mention something nice for the academic community. Perhaps you use something like Academia.edu? Perhaps you’ve heard of ScholarlyHub.org? Then perhaps you should know about Scholar.social. But first, Mastodon. Continue reading “Switch to a Mastodon Social Network”

Try the Engineering Academic Challenge (Concordia Student Event)

The Engineering Academic Challenge asks students to figure out answers to a variety of interesting engineering questions by using databases with Engineering Village and Knovel. There will be an event at Concordia for engineering students to try the challenge (it includes food). Competing against universities from all over the world, you can also win some nice prizes.

On Monday, 23 October 2017 go to the Hall building, 7th floor student lounge area, between 11 and 1. Bring your laptop, use one of the computers there, or borrow one from the library.

Participating in the EAC is a great way to improve your ability to get effective search results out of Engineering Village, while also learning about interesting engineering problems.

Software Tools that are Useful for Students & Free

Completing your university work on time, collaborating with many people, and dealing with cost and other requirements of various software systems is a hassle, which I hope that you can eliminate using some of these tools. I’ve used these and I’d like recommend that people try them out. Following is a brief description of some Office Productivity, Time and Project Management, Mindmapping, Reference Management, Note Taking, and Transcription applications. I’ve included a link to access or download them (all cost-free).  Continue reading “Software Tools that are Useful for Students & Free”