As we talk more and more about expanding the use of Web logs here, we also talk more and more about the potential risks of allowing students to publish online for an open or even restricted Internet audience. Specifically, we’re asking who is liable if a student publishes content that harrasses or offends a reader? Even with a signed AUP that warns against such behavior, what would be the consequences for the school if something like that slips through?
I know that there are many measures we can take to try to make sure this doesn’t occur. Manila gives us a great deal of flexibility in terms of how restrictive we want to be. But it becomes a question of how much do we trust our students, how much do they benefit from audience, and how much extra work do we create for our teachers and ourselves.
We could make it so only teachers can approve student posts to Web logs. But with 25 students in a class, this would no doubt become more work than it’s worth. We could have notifications of posts sent to teachers for review so they can act quickly to take down problem posts. We could restrict the sites to “Editor’s Only” so that only invited guests could see and interact with the content. We can set various editoral levels for students so that they can’t mess with the settings. But we all realize that for all of those measures, the possiblity of abuse still exists.
I’m wondering if some sort of guidelines are out there anywhere to inform these conversations. I’ve done a cursory search, but haven’t found what I’m looking for. If anyone has suggestions or thoughts, please add.