I find this story from today’s Inside Higher Ed chilling.

You need to click on some of the links in the story and watch the “rants” by the professors. The exercise by the “liberal professor” does not show the entire story – though he could have perhaps made it clearer that he was “antagonizing” all sides of the argument.

The rant about “audible yawning” is about respect in the classroom, but the video clip makes him seem as one commenter noted, “a petty tyrant.” I have had to ask students not to audibly yawn before.

I’m interested in what others think about this trend. Are our students taping us? If they do, do we own any of the information at all? Do we have control of information we give out?

I find this worrisome. Is this a good thing for the Academy?


5 Responses to Chilling

  1. A student in my GW1 class posted a couple of pics of me on facebook from the day we went outside. I has no problem with the pics, or that he took them. But some of the other students commented (on facebook) that it was ‘creepy.’ In my case, I don’t think it was, it’s not like he was hiding the camera.
    But even if he was: are these cases any different (other than scope of distribution) than the hand-held audio recorders of our generation? There were recordings of lectures and rants floating around most grad schools back ‘in the day.’

  2. gretchenmckay says:

    I think it is different. I think the way of dissemination makes it different. Ok, you got a rant on tape. How many people could you really share that with? A group of friends? Who was going to listen to a tape of a lecture for that long to get to a rant? But now things can be cut and edited to make a point. The class with the guy about global warming apparently was also tough on the other side as well. But we don’t see that, because it was edited out. I’m more concerned about the editing out that was not easy with a tape recorder back in the day.

  3. Reanna Ursin says:

    I think the issue is pretty complicated, but my initial response is that I would never tape my students without their knowledge, therefore, if they want to tape me, they should have my consent. If I plan to use their papers as examples in other classes, I make my policy known up-front and I remove their names when I re-use the essays. I don’t go out of my way to humiliate my students, and I expect the same from them in terms of their relationship to me and their other classmates.

    On the other hand, while the videos might be embarrassing for the professors who were taped, I don’t know that they’re professionally harmful. I would be very upset, however, if the administration at any of these schools used the recordings as an evaluative tool of the professor’s teaching acumen or professionalism. It’s one thing to invite an evaluator in, it’s another to be filmed without your knowledge and/or to have the video edited for negative effect.

    Lastly, I wonder how many of our students would actually do something like this? If the videos are a kind of critique of the professor’s teaching style, behavior, classroom management, etc., I don’t know that McDaniel students feel so ignored that they would resort to selectively edited videos to get their points across. I give midterm as well as end-of-semester evaluations and I think my students know that I take their responses seriously. I make noticeable changes based on their midterm evaluations, and I am very honest about the areas in which I think I need more work. Perhaps I’m naive, but I think it would take a very mean-spirited student to do something like this at McDaniel. I suppose at some point though it may turn into a line I have to include on my syllabus: “no stealth filming in class.” šŸ™‚

  4. gretchenmckay says:

    I’m concerned about this for the entire Academy, and Higher Ed in general, rather than at McDaniel. I have a hard time imagining our students doing this in a “stealth” manner also. But I worry because the public is starting to turn their dislike to the Academy, thinking we are an out of touch lot. The public is (rightly) outraged by the outrageous bonuses of Wall Street after bailouts, but from my reading I think that many are also beginning to question tenure and other aspects of higher education. They are distrustful of what goes on and we’ve not done a good job at showing results — assessments. If you combine those trends with this kind of stuff that does not show the whole truth, we have an even more difficult job of defending what we do and explaining it. I’m thinking of Dr. Casey’s comments yesterday at the AAUP meeting — about the general mood in DC about higher education and the growing distrust of what we do. These video clips done on the sly and edited in certain ways that are rather unflattering – done for whatever reason – will only exacerbate the problem.

  5. Deb Vance says:

    Sooner or later, media law will catch up with the internet. A newspaper or TV station have to make the distinction between public and private, and often have to get permission to broadcast or publish someone’s name or image, or else get sued for libel, defamation, false light, etc. Media law used to provide for the other side to respond (fairness doctrine did this) when he or she has been challenged.

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