Category Archives: Who Owns Your Education Data?

Blog Posts #10 – Who Owns Your Education Data

"I have read and agree to the Terms of Service," is in fact the biggest lie on the internet.  The terms and conditions of many online websites, applications, school sites and other things have always been overlooked by many, let alone skimmed through.  People unknowingly can be agreeing to give away all of their  information that they post without even knowing because of how tedious it can be to read and understand the extensive terms of conditions of many sites.  The simplification for quick understanding of terms and conditions could greatly help those who would be unaware of what they are signing.  Personally i have only read through maybe a third of a Terms and Conditions from anything in my life simply because i knew what i wanted to do within the app but found it too tedious and time consuming to actually read the whole thing.

In the crowdsourced project TOS;DR, i found it very interesting what the terms of service were for major websites and how they could keep and use your personal browsing info for multiple purposes.  After going over multiple reviews of websites like youtube, Facebook, twitpic, and Skype it makes me think twie about joining sites like that simply because you ultimately have no control over anything.  For example the three companies i just stated have the ability to change their terms whenever they want without notification which is very troubling.  Also when you delete things you may not be able to see them but the company running the site will still and always have information or evidence of what you deleted, which i believe is not very good.  Some applications such as Skype will not allow you to delete your account after it has been created.  It will always be there in some way.

Things like that make me feel that it would be a good choice to allow the user to interact and negotiate with the terms and conditions of using a site or app, ESPECIALLY if changes are being made.  I would not appreciate it if i was using a educational technology such as D2L/Brightspace and long after I'm finish using it an outside party would be able to view my browsing.  I strongly believe that there should be  laws to set limits on what terms of service all web apps providers can require.  The most important thing is that users of these apps need to pay closer attention and educate their selves on the terms of service of the web apps they are using. Paying attention to fine print is the way to go after researching this topic.

Blog Post #10: TOS Education View Point

Education is a very important part of our lives, for adults and college students alike; we learn something new every single moment of the day, whether we are typing a blog post or reading a case brief. One thing I know all of the world is guilty of, especially me because there is no one lazier than I, is failing to learn about the Terms and Services which come with almost every app and website we have access to. Failing to read the TOS is one of the biggest mistakes anyone out there could make; did you know some of our rights can be taken away through TOS? With the idea of TOS being very pertinent to the education of the app or website we are using, should schools be obligated to respect the rights their students have on school orientated websites? Without a doubt, schools MUST be obligated to respect their students rights for two main reasons: we pay money to have access to these websites and therefore we should get the full extent of our money but also because the irony of a school restricting the right of a student of access an educational website is unheard of. Speaking in specific, Georgia State should respect student rights due to tuition and their obligation to the student education. Colleges and schools alike need to respect their students as if they were apart of the system, which brings up another question: Should schools involve students in negotiations for rights? I don't believe students would be up in arms to negotiate for their rights online, just because of the microscopic attention given to the TOS anyway, but I do believe students should have the right to negotiate for them. There might be some students who are involved enough. There should be more attention paid to the TOS, mostly because of they dictate the way we use things (apps, websites, etc.) and how they use us (tracking, microphone, etc.).

I own my data!

The terms of service agreement for certain websites I believe are made to be long winded and difficult to read.  I do not believe that these companies want anyone actually reading them because people would discuss them.  Once people start talking about something it become a topic that people would harp on.  With companies taking and owning things that someone post online, people give up those rights of ownership once they click on the terms of service agreement.

The idea that Coursesmart is snitching on me if I did my homework or not infuriates me.  After reading the article by

I Agree to the Terms and Conditions


Most people, if not all, probably click the “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions” button without actually reading and agreeing to them. I know for a fact that I personally have never sat down and completely read them. The terms of service are simply way too long and dense to read, which is very time consuming. The reason why people sign up for whatever service or download it is ultimately is because they want to use it. If someone wants to sign up for Facebook, they are doing it because they are interested in what Facebook has to offer. Even if that individual were to read the terms and conditions and find a phrase or clause in it that they did not agree with, I doubt that would deter them from continuing with the service or download anyway. Being subjected to some form of governing on websites is better than not having an Instagram or Google+ account like all of your friends do. This goes back to the idea of web literacy. It is up to the individual to be aware of the potential consequences of having your information online.

Most of these websites’ intentions are not malicious. We use them everyday and without any problems. I purchase things from all the time and using my credit card number, and no more than the amount of money purchased is ever taken from my account. The educational system, especially the public one, is a different story as schools are government funded, and therefore any online activity through schools is regulated by the government. These terms and conditions may be stricter.

I feel that Americans in 2015 are too paranoid about this argument of privacy online. It is no secret that the owners of these websites and government agencies have access to your information. There is nothing that we can do about that. The only way to be truly private is to shut off your cell phones, and Internet, and satellite tv, and live off the grid.



Photo credit:

No Biggie

In my opinion, this is not even a valuable argument to further discuss. If had even had the ability to disagree with the terms and services when i first started, its not like i could say no. If i want to go to college here and have the ability to see important messages/emails from instructors and access my grades, then i need to have d2l no matter what. The account is created for us when we enroll here at gsu so the power is out of our hands. That being said i do feel like our privacy rights should be taken in to consideration and respected by the university and i feel that they are. I do not go home at night and wonder what d2l is doing with my personal information or my grades or emails i have sent an instructor and with whom they are sharing it with. I don't think that the school or the site is out to get its students. I don't think that there is any third party sharing or any shady things going on on trusted educational sites. This isn't Facebook where i am posting personal information or a credit card account that i need to monitor and be concerned about. It is simply a platform to help students and instructors communicate and share more easily.

TOS;DR sounds like a really great idea when you first hear about it but the sad fact is that people won't even take the time to read simplified abbreviated versions of terms of service agreements. When you bring college students into that mix, they are DEFINITELY NOT going to be reading anything extra that they don't have to when they could just hit accept and go on with their day. I know that i wouldn't read them. I think that there are sites that this project could definitely help with. I know that on the terms of service on iTunes, users agree that they basically have no rights to the music they have purchased. People on sites like this where a money exchange is involved need to be protected and need help from projects like TOS;DR.

On the other hand, i don't think education technologies are all that serious. I do not believe that schools be obligated to provide TOS;DR-style explanations of the terms of service for required educational technologies. We were given access to this site to help us and make things centralized and organized. To demand things from someone who provided us with a helpful site that does nothing but good seems unnecessary to me. I believe that any attempt at enacting a law to enforce simplified TOS or even TOS at all on education technologies will go nowhere. D2l is not a file storing site where all students archive all of their life's work. Nothing of great value is kept on this site that i would be worried about. To me, this is an argument that does not need to be argued and a fight that does not need to be fought.

Terms of Servitude: a product of a larger issue

We have all seen them. Terms of service agreements that are thousands of words long. We skip over them and never concern ourselves with what we may be agreeing too. Should these be shorter for the consumer? Yes. But is that the fault of the companies I think not. Which also leads to education and TOS. Students should be better informed on what they agree too in terms of service, and the terms must be limited by an outside mediator.

We hate reading Terms of sevice. We skip to the bottom to just find the check box. However, do we ever consider if the companies enjoy writing them. We assume that companies that write these massive texts enjoy hiring people to lay out all of this legal process. We don't consider that this is an extra expense that they dislike doing as much if not more than we dislike reading them. They have to do it though in the stat of our country. We have an amazingly large amount of lawsuits in this country. The companies have to write these lists of agreements so that they don't get sued into oblivion. They write them because they have to. If we want the agreements to be shorter we have to give the companies some inherent protections legally so they don't have to spell them out for themselves.

This transfers to education as well. If there are going to be terms of serivce in educational software they need to be clear and concise. They also need to be legally limited so that they don't become abusive toward the people using he data. They should not be able to sell or otherwise trade the data. They also should not be able to rope people int agreements that could not be understood in plain text.

Overall the terms of service should be simplified but it is up to the government and us as a people to fix that. We need to not scare companies into writing these massive lists for us to agree to so that it is easier for us to understand what we are agreeing to.

Blog Post #10: Who Owns Your Education Data?

In a webinar she gave for #ETMOOC, a connectivist massively open online course, Audrey Watters proclaimed that the statement, "I have read and agree to the Terms of Service," is the biggest lie on the internet. How many times do we "click through" this question when downloading and installing or updating the latest web app? How many times do we actually take the time to stop and read the terms of service?

In April of 2013, the New York Times ran a story titled, “Teacher Knows if You’ve Done the E-Reading.” In the article David Streitfeld describes digital texts that track “when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all.” The data collected isn’t just made available to the teacher in the course, however. As Streitfeld later points out, “Eventually, the data will flow back to the publishers, to help prepare new editions.”

The development of new teaching technologies that allow schools and teachers to track student data presents significant opportunities to improve teaching and learning at every level. It also, as Watters pointed out in her webinar, raises concerns about what happens to student and instructor data and intellectual property once the course is over.

The “defaults” in place under federal law give students control over the intellectual property you create and your educational data. When we use systems like Desire2Learn , however, your rights may be governed by terms of service we, as individuals never even see, and might not understand even if we had the opportunity and time to read them. In the best of circumstances, where we freely decide to “click the box” in order to download iTunes or use Google Apps, the terms of service are a contract of adhesion, in which one party–not us–has all the power to decide its terms and conditions. In an educational setting, where use of the technology is a condition of participation in the class, the situation is even more coercive.

One crowdsourced project TOS;DR (stands for "Terms of Service, didn't read) is trying to make the terms of service for commonly used web applications easier to understand. This information could be useful as we attempt to make what Rheingold might call more "mindful" choices about the tools we use to engage with digital culture. Should schools have an obligation to ensure that the terms of service for education technologies such as D2L/Brightspace respect students privacy and intellectual property rights? Should schools have an obligation to involve students in the negotiations regarding those terms of service? Should schools be obligated to provide TOS;DR-style explanations of the terms of service for required educational technologies? Should we enact laws to set limits on what terms of service educational technology providers can require? Should such laws perhaps extend even to providers of all web apps, social media, and "cloud computing" services?

Posting: Group 3

Commenting: Group 1

Taking a Break: Group 2

Category: "Who Owns Your Education Data?"

Read through some of the linked resources in this post, and take some time to do some research of your own on the web. Then, in your Blog #10 post, take a position that attempts to answer the questions presented in this prompt. Remember, rather than simply answering a series of questions in order, use the questions as a starting point for constructing a brief essay organized around your own thesis about attention, technology, and how the internet is affecting our thinking and learning. Please carefully read and follow the guidelines and posting information for this blog.

Image Credit: "Sayings of DonkeyHotey #9: 'When do citizens get to write the terms of service?'" by DonkeyHotey on Flickr.