Scott, 53, who wears a vivid purple shirt with his suit, says retailers already analyse customer information in order to tempt buyers with future deals, and argues this is no different.
“Any time these services are free, eventually it’s the user who ends up paying,”
“In the US more than the UK . . . losing a student is a very expensive loss to an institution because they pay high annual fees,” he says. “If you can get to a student before they drop out, you can keep them in the institution.”
Despite these advantages, research has still revealed discomfort among students about the consequences of technological advances. Two years ago, the UK’s National Union of Students, together with online learning company Desire2Learn, undertook a major study of what youngsters thought of their universities and colleges using online education materials. It found that students were extremely suspicious of any suggestion that technology was replacing human interaction.
The survey — conducted through focus groups and interviews — showed students were reluctant to make their data available due to fears about how they would be judged. Those polled said they did not mind their data being anonymised as part of a study of their whole cohort, but said they didn’t want their lecturers to know that they personally had logged on to the network two minutes before an assignment was due to be handed in, that they read their ebooks late at night or that they were not engaging with their discussion forums.
A growing area of concern for students, says Poettcker, is the role that technology plays in the perceived “privatisation” of higher education, which has been debated in Britain after the tripling of tuition fees three years ago.
In this context, will the monitoring of students’ study habits really seem so bad? “We don’t need to use any of the data about you . . . to try and manipulate you,” he says. “We want to give you the data so you manipulate yourself”.
The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) is strongly concerned for British Columbia’s privacy law, following the release of the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
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If you turn to many of the leading introductory psychology textbooks (American ones, at least), you'll find the wrong answer, or a misleading account. Richard Griggs, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida, has just analysed the content of 23 contemporary textbooks (either released or updated within the last couple of years), and he finds most of them contain distortions, omissions and inaccuracies.