By Austin Metz
Editor in Chief
Whether you want to admit it or not, you are being watched.
The sad truth is that each of us is being monitored while surfing the Internet. Whether it’s on Facebook, Google, Twitter or even our e-mail, there is little to nothing that can be considered truly private anymore.
Issue at hand for students is that this monitoring has always been in the school software we all know as Blackboard.
“The ability for a teacher to monitor has been around since Blackboard has been around,” said Instructional Support and Interdisciplinary Studies Director Eric Kunnen after explaining that Blackboard has been used by the college since 1999.
Kunnen went on to say that teachers can monitor how often a student uses discussion board, whether or not students click on links to sites, videos and course documents and even how often they view general content like the syllabus.
“We consider Blackboard to be an on-line class,” Kunnen said. “It is a high-level monitoring system so that teachers can monitor how active students are. It’s like taking attendance.”
The issue though is that this “high-level monitoring system” is being used without many student’s knowledge.
“I think it’s kind of weird because they never told me about it,” said first year GRCC student Paul Wood. “I mean, I don’t do anything bad but still.”
GRCC student Laura Strom echoed this same thought.
“I kind of don’t like that they can view when we go on,” Strom said. “It’s like it’s a secret.”
Although teachers are limited to viewing only students they teach, the question becomes, what right does a teacher have to monitor students outside of the classroom?
The key word being outside the classroom because exceptions may need to be made for classes that are strictly on-line but face-to-face classes? I don’t think so.
While it is a teacher’s job to try to help students succeed, that shouldn’t give them the right to constantly monitor students.
If students don’t feel that they need to visit Blackboard every day like some teachers seem to want, that is their choice and if these documents were really necessary to class success, then it will show in their final grade.
The school needs to make a change and eliminate monitoring power of Blackboard in face-to-face classes and if not, at least have the decency to inform students that they are in fact being watched.