Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Professors Posing as Students

What a bad idea. I guess the thinking is if you can't relate to students, pretend to be a student. Unfortunately, I think this does more harm than good. How can you discuss ethics with students, when you're committing an ethical breach? And what if students share something with a fake student that they wouldn't want their professor or any professor to know.
Wired Campus: Online Professors Pose as Students to Encourage Real Learning
a small group of “ghost students” that academics in Indiana, Connecticut, and South Africa have injected into online courses to kick-start discussions among students, keep them from dropping out, and spy on their communications.

The deceit has provoked questions about faculty ethics. Two of the professors admit that their unreal students teeter on an ethical precipice, because the technique could be abused. Others in the distance-education community accuse them of falling over the cliff. The critics worry such behavior could scar the image of an education sector many still regard with skepticism.

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