week 23: privacy stakeholder dialogues

  • What stakeholders should we be engaging about privacy?
  • How are we already doing this?
  • What steps can you take from Abigail’s presentation to get these conversations started?

One other stakeholder, and I’m not sure if it was mentioned in the chat, is the IT department. While their main concern is maintaining security for all of the college, they are certainly aware of privacy issues for students. I’m on the college’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) mainly to stay apprised of any issues that impact the library, but I also like the IT staff at the college. In the last few days, a student contacted the entire committee asking how to address student privacy and harvesting of data at the college level. There are student spots on this committee, so it’s (1) great to see a student advocate for themselves and their fellow students and (2) to bring this awareness to the relevant stakeholders that could have the power or recommendations to implement policies or changes at the college.

This also means including the departments that make decisions about products or services implemented in your workplace or at the college. In our case, it’s the Educational Technology department. So, it’s important to have their attention or having them both (e.g. IT and Ed Tech) in the room when decisions or changes are made.

Definitely! I wonder how we could take an assessment of the IT department’s privacy attitudes in a similar manner as the Data Doubles project did about student attitudes?

This LFI talk really got me thinking about how to connect with people and how to make a case for working together. The digital learning tools used at Boston Public Schools have long been of concern, however I’ve not gotten an opportunity to speak with educators or students about their privacy concerns because I know so little about these tools, and how students and teachers use them. Where to start? It’s such a big topic and the connections between BPS and BPL are individual not institutional. I’ve reached out to their IT department about where BPL youth services could cover some topics on using their applications or troubleshooting it at the library and have never heard anything back.
Fast forward to next week & I am finally meeting with the City’s Data Manager and a group of Northeastern U. researchers who are looking at student privacy in the context of the digital learning tools at BPS. I got on a City Hall someone’s radar by meeting semi-regularly with our Communications Director and talking up teen programs and anti-surveillance, library stuff. We had had a misunderstanding about something and later I sent her a meeting request titled “face surveillance?”. I’m excited as hell as this will give me an opportunity to finally dig in and learn. And share what I find with my colleagues, the teens and the teachers.

Although I am a public librarian now, I was in academic libraries for eight years, so a lot of what Abigail discussed resonated. One specific stakeholder is the online learning specialist/designer/department/team that is ubiquitous on every campus these days. I know many colleges and universities are staying solvent by increasing their online class offerings. With this amount of growth, there is real potential to bring online learning professionals on board to consider privacy more fully. As far as I know, there are many ways to customize a CMS; while there are limitations based on the software or system, having a team that is looking at things from a privacy perspective could have huge consequences.


Maty this is awesome! Can you share the agenda and any resources or readings you’re using to prep for the meeting? Do you want any help getting ready for this/even just checking in over the phone?

Great point. I wonder if the academic librarians in this group have ever met with those folks just to get a sense of their privacy perspectives.

I would definitely like some help getting ready. Of particular interest would be some reading on public school learning systems. I know BPS uses Aspen and Google products but otherwise I’m in the dark. I’ll comb through LFI syllabus and reread what’s there. I’d actually like to forward a ‘persona; agenda’ to them beforehand. The meeting is Nov. 6. Thank you!

I think the approach could be the same where it could start with interviews (or move right to a survey depending on their availability) on what they (Ed Tech and IT) think about learning analytics and how it is related to student privacy. Part of that interview could be about why, if, and what are they doing with the data. It’s good to hear what they know to be able to continue to have conversations about privacy in LA and in other systems on campus.

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