Friday, August 19, 2005

Acceptable Use Policy* Proposal: * retitled: Network Usage Agreement

In many institutions the Acceptabe Use Policy (AUP) is used to explain access to network services, internet filtering practices and also to outline expectations as to how those services will be used.

Discussions on changing the AUP at Burr and Burton to be less restrictive to web research, communication and web 2.0 technologies began in the Fall of 2006. Students in the Research Lab contributed to discussions and in the Fall of 2007 a formal proposal was presented to the administration for review.

We are pleased to announce that on Wednesday March 26th, 2008 our AUP Draft was accepted by the administration to be implemented in the labs in the Media Arts and Sciences department labs. These changes will lead to a deeper understanding of web technologies, communication and the moral and ethical use of this incredibly powerful medium.

Here are some quotes we found quite fitting for the occasion.

" For us, no matter how deeply we immerse ourselves in new technology, it will always have a certain provisional quality. Those of us with considerable real-world experience are often at an advantage relative to young people, who are comparative novices in the way the world works. The mistakes novices make come from a lack of experience. They overestimate mere fads, seeing revolution everywhere, and they make this kind of mistake a thousand times before they learn better. But in times of revolution, the experienced among us make the opposite mistake. When a real once-in-a-lifetime change comes along, we are at risk of regarding it as a fad.

…young people are taking better advantage of social tools, extending their capabilities in ways that violate old models not because they know more useful things than we do but because they know fewer useless things than we do. I’m old enough to know a lot of things just from life experience. I know that newspapers are where you get your political news and how you look for a job. I know that music comes from stores. I know that if you want to have a conversation with someone, you call them on the phone. I know that complicated things like software and encyclopedias have to be created by professionals. In the last fifteen years I’ve had to unlearn every one of those things and a million others, because they have stopped being true. I’ve become like the grown-ups arguing in my local paper about calculators; just as it took them a long time to realize that calculators were never going away, those of us old enough to remember a time before social tools became widely available are constantly playing catch-up. Meanwhile my students, many of whom are fifteen years younger than I am, don’t have to unlearn those things, because they never had to learn them in the first place.

The advantage of youth, however, is relative, not absolute. Just as everyone eventually came to treat the calculator as a ubiquitous and invisible tool, we are all coming to take our social tools for granted as well. Our social tools are dramatically improving our ability to share, cooperate and act together. As everyone from working biologists to angry air passengers adopts those tools, it is leading to an epochal change."
Clay Shirky: From the book 'Here Comes Everybody'

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing things, because we're curious...
and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

Walt Disney

Many thanks to all for working this through, especially to the Research Lab students. While some of us may disagree, the trick in education is to keep moving forward. Using our collective ingenuity we can accomplish great things. Adam

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