The MOOC I’ve chosen to undertake, DelftX: OG101x Open Government, is on the On edX Platform. eDX was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012 – so has a prestigious pedigree – and they work with partner institutions – this course is produced by the Delft University of Technology.
Registering requires giving a name (which can’t be changed later?) I have an internal debate about whether to give my real name of not? I opt for an initial and surname so as not to give away my gender, but it’s already taken, so I end up just using my real name.
To register I also have to agree to the edX Terms of Service and Honor Code so I’ve had a quick look at them. I was interested to see what they would say about user postings:
License Grant to edX. By submitting or distributing your User Postings, you hereby grant to edX a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, assignable, sub licensable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to host, transfer, display, perform, reproduce, modify, distribute, re-distribute, relicense and otherwise use, make available and exploit your User Postings, in whole or in part, in any form and in any media formats and through any media channels (now known or hereafter developed).
License Grant to edX Users. By submitting or distributing your User Postings, you hereby grant to each user of the Site a non-exclusive license to access and use your User Postings in connection with their use of the Site for their own personal purposes.
So it looks like everything you contribute is licenced to edX. I wonder why they don’t just licence it into the Creative Commons?
Anderson & Simpson (2007) pick up on my concerns when they consider the”rights students have regarding privacy, informed consent and use of their work” they are concerned about the amount of data that learning management systems collect automatically and that tutors don’t need to actively request. They encourage tutors to ask for ‘informed consent’, which students will have, if they stopped to read the Terms & Conditions when they registered for edX.
The threat of “textual permanence” is also discussed by Anderson & Simpson (2007) as a new accordance of the online medium -“to distribute easily and widely exact copies of messages” – that may be part of my concerns about whether to use my real name in this space?
I’m enrolled, but edX are very keen that I pursue a Verified Certificate for $50 – I opt to ‘Audit This Course’ which seems fundamentally the same without the certificate?
Anderson, B. and Simpson, M. (2007) ‘Ethical issues in online education’, Open Learning. 22(2): pp. 129-138.