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Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Ignorance and Bandwidth - a Dangerous Combination

The institution I am employed by has just joined in the rush to block youtube and myspace. The group email simply read that senior management had made a decision to block both and questions should be directed to senior management. Short, sharp and simple - I am sure many just hit delete without blinking. I put them to the test and asked why this was happening. The reply more honest than expected - 'The decision was made after consultation with senior management and following complaints of misuse. In addition, these sites are using major amounts of bandwidth - ie in the top 5.' So management made the decision. Was there any consultation? Not that I know of. Are they experts in the field? No I do not think so, that is why they have relied in the past on staff such as myself. Are these the same managers that have told me directly that 'e-learning is wanky shit' and 'e-learning has no real place in the business services sector'? Well, who knows but I suggest yes. Misuse, has been reported. What misuse, by whom, what constitutes misuse? Could we not view this in another way? If misuse occurring, then why not help learners to use more productively and wisely, instead of blocking? Does not the fact that both youtube and myspace appear in the top 5 sites logged by the computer services department as using bandwidth, indicate that these sites are popular and used widely within the institute and as such, may warrant further investigation as to why? What they are used for etc? I guess not, we have no say, learners have no say, management who care little control all. A sad day for all learners at an institute that claims to be progressive, has and continues to receive a great deal of funding from the government in the e-learning arena.

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