So we’ve published a privacy background paper: what can BCcampus do now?

Last week we published a background paper on Privacy and Cloud-based Educational Technology (authored by me) which has already generated some interest among e-learning bloggers (Tony Bates and Clint Lalonde have made it the subject of posts on their respective blogs).

Descending clouds

I hope everyone attending the April 4 conference we are hosting on this topic (either in person or via web-cast) reads the paper beforehand. In fact, I will send an email to all attendees giving them a link so they can download the paper in the next week.

As always, after completing a project like this and publishing it, I saw something I would have liked to add to the conclusion. I’m sure many academics and researchers can relate to this post-publishing doubt!

I would have added more about the potential role of BCcampus in supporting the post-secondary sector. The background paper shows that privacy concerns with respect to cloud-based educational technology are affecting B.C.’s universities and colleges on a system-wide basis. Since BCcampus exists to support the system, I can see a role for us beyond April 4. Convening the conference is just a start.

I had the privilege of attending a meeting of college and university privacy officers from all over B.C. during the time I was putting together the paper. There I heard privacy officers express a need for a repository of resources, case law, and institutional policies not only around privacy issues but also around freedom of information policy and practices. I also heard a need for the system as a whole to liaise more closely with government policymakers and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner to clarify grey areas and maybe even produce systemic guidelines specifically geared to post-secondary institutions.

In fact, BCcampus is already supporting the system in scoping out the use of Kaltura (a video streaming service) as a Shared Service among participating institutions. That is one technical solution and alternative to using YouTube. We also bring to bear expertise in forming Communities of Practice, digital repositories, strategic oversight and co-ordination.

I am anticipating further specific action items will arise from the conference in a week’s time. At BCcampus, we are more than willing to see what resources we can bring to the table in supporting the system in this increasingly important issue.

(Photo: Descending Clouds by Gary Hayes used under Creative Commons license)