[SLED] Purpose of the list
rloon at hbci.com
rloon at hbci.com
Wed Aug 8 19:50:11 PDT 2007
I dropped out of this conversation near the beginning because it
was clear to me that participants were talking past each other.
Perhaps rashly, I've decided to restate a point that was lost along
Fernando, I understand your points, and agree with many of them.
Quite obviously, an instructor cannot hide her identity from
students. Many people on this list, however, are educators, but not
classroom teachers. There are Ed Tech professionals, administrators,
librarians, professional developers, technical consultants, and others
who support the educational enterprise. What I think I heard some of
them say was that a person's age, gender, and other RL personal
characteristics shouldn't be relevant to their presence in SL.
Therefore, for many reasons -- personal security among them -- it may
make sense for people to separate their RL and SL personas if they
can. That option is not open to classroom teachers, but is to many
educators. What I heard in at least some of the comments that led to
your posting was a lament that Voice could make that separation harder
to maintain. To the extent that the affects their working conditions
as educators in RL and SL, it is a legitimate topic for discussion.
[BTW, While I didn't hear a similar concern raised on behalf of
students, I suspect that there are many of them who would prefer to
keep their RL identities concealed (except, naturally, to an
instructor) as well. Having served in various administrative
capacities over the years, I can assure you that on any campus in the
U.S., there is a small handful of students whose real identities are
carefully guarded secrets -- and plenty of others who wish they could
hide from ex-husbands, creditors, or stalkers.]
I do not recommend designing any system around the exceptions to
the norm, and I am cautious about appearing to fuel paranoia. Life is
full of risks, and it would be unwise to reject change simply because
it may have negative consequences for some people. On balance, I have
come to agree that the advantages of voice in many venues outway the
disadvantages. This long-winded note, though, is not about whether
voice is "good" or "bad." It's not about whether fears about security
are realistic or overblown, either. My point is that a discussion of
risk to members of the academic community should be fair game wherever
educators gather -- including this list.
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