Yet another reason to write your congressperson

A new bill being considered by the House would essentially give a few trade organizations the power to shut down anything on the web they don’t like. All they have to do is allege that it is storing unauthorized copyrighted material. While I can sympathize with artists who feel they are being ripped off by downloading, the potential for abuse of this law is enormous. More details here (commercial link includes an ad).

Educause, which is the national organization for university IT professionals (both the technical types, like network engineers and CIO’s, as well as those deeply involved in online learning and IT in the classroom), has released a formal response to the latest draft of this particular bill.

The response can be read here:

Combatting Plagiarism–an In-depth and very interesting Chronicle Article

It’s worth plowing through not only this long article, but also many of the comments. All of the issues relating to plagiarism detection software such as SafeAssign are discussed, and there are some very interesting ideas also.

The article is only available for a limited time:

Software Catches (and Also Helps) Young Plagiarists

Bonus: article on where students most frequently copy:

THE Journal

Unintended consequences–federal laws to protect children online probably endanger them instead

Here’s a nice example of how passing a law to fix a perceived problem can backfire and make things even worse than before the law was passed. Here’s an article by libertarian Adam Thierer, but referencing a study by dana boyd, who gave a great talk on young people’s views of privacy on Facebook at the recent EDUCAUSE. We’re working on screening her talk in the next couple of weeks.

You need to upgrade your Internet Explorer to enter grades or download classlists

If you use Internet Explorer, and you are still using version 7, you will need to upgrade to version 8, or switch to a different browser, such as Firefox. Microsoft issued a security upgrade to IE7 which broke its ability to run drop-down menus. Pipeline uses dropdown menus for various functions, such as Web Time Entry (which most faculty don’t use), but also for Download Class List, which you’ll be using shortly. Not to mention inputting grades, which is not as far off as it seems.
The gory details (including how to do this and where to get help) are here: