I just recently setup up Google Apps + Moodle single sign on. Now that we can provide email to all students, should we?
Why Student Email?
- Students need email in order to practice electronic communication.
- Our tech plan says we will teach students about electronic communication.
- Almost all modern workers have a work email.
- All universities provide a student email (Most require students to use the student email for school business and require the student to check the official student email with a certain frequency).
- Almost all students get personal email at some point (some classes require students to have an email address).
Why Not Student Email?
- Students could misuse the email (bullying, attaching malicious files)
- Students could get SPAM
- Concern about liability (proving nexus becomes easier when it is a school provided system)
- Parental choice (we might consider opting out kids, just as we have certain parents opt out of student work/photos online)
How I Think We Should Approach The Issue
- We know kids are sometimes misusing electronic communication now outside of school.
- Instead of saying “Whew, glad that is not our problem because it’s not on our system” we should be looking to educate the kids.
- We have an “educational nexus” with electronic communication.
- However, just because we provide it and expect it to be used does not mean we need to monitor all messages (we don’t not screen every note children write in their binder paper).
- We need to teach kids to report cyber bullying and save copies of emails that disturb/threaten them.
- We need to talk to parents about the role electronic communication plays in education (think about the importance of parent-teacher email, shouldn’t students start learning about self advocacy via email?)
- We need to create an AUP that says very clearly that if an incident does happen using our email system we are not responsible (we are responsible for educating about email use but not for monitoring student email messages).
- The alternative is to be hypocritical-to expect students to have email and to use it in instruction, but to not provide it out of fear.
- The other alternative is to not provide email and not push the use of student email in instruction, which means our students miss out on a chance to use these tools in an academic setting.