Online services in education are common place in modern schools and universities. What many don’t understand is just what those online services do for them, especially in regard to one’s digital safety. When discussing online services in what their functions may be, one may think of Blackboard or Canvas, in their abilities to share information with students, keep grades, and just generally be a really useful tool for educators. What we don’t ask is the side effects of these features, and the shady data collection tactics that milk educators and students for money with unnecessary features.
Digital safety online is not something one can easily achieve. Every day, data from the average person’s browsing habits are commonly sold to the highest bidder. The lack of privacy online is rather astounding. Even something as harmless sounding as “cookies” can be nefarious and breach our webs of safety and privacy in personal interests and habits.
Digital Safety Self Advocacy
One surefire way to maintain digital safety and privacy would be to not simply outsource to other companies. Perks of student grade books and assignment uploading are “cool” but not necessary. These features also exploit data from students, and blatantly breach their online privacy by selling their data to advertisers. The creation or use of one’s own website however can generally solve this issue. Self hosted websites offer a significantly greater level of trust in comparison to companies that obtain funding from data of its users. This can more reliably be used in educational settings, allowing students to learn and navigate online educational spaces without digital safety risks.
Not many teachers bother to understand the consequences or intricacies many service based education sites have. They often take it at face value, enjoy the perks, see others do it, and accept it. Educators must strive challenge this fate for the benefit of themselves creatively, and the privacy of their students. Perhaps not the best topic of discussion, but cookies are still a threat to digital safety.