Code of Conduct for SM?

Hi Judith,

Welcome to the first English version of our duoblog. I know that you won’t react in English (yet!) but still I want to try to give our English speaking friends some insight in the way we at Zuyd University are using technology enhanced learning. So sometimes you will find a summary of our past Dutch blogitems in this category and sometimes you will find a story of it’s own. This time I have chosen the later.

You remembered our last session at Educause 2010? It was about Social Media (yeah that’s where SM stands for ;)) with Tanja Joosten @tjoosten of the University of Wisconsin and her friend Shannon Ritter @micala of State College PA as our hosts. They were promoting #edusocmedia and discussing all kind of social media in education topics. I am very happy to say that we can send some colleagues to educause 2011 :), but that means that we have to stay at home ūüė¶

That doesn’t mean that we can’t interact with the conference. Shannon has dropped the question on twitter on which topics should be discussed at the conference and that made me thinking (well that and off course the urge to blog something in English and this was a great opportunity ūüėČ ) One of the rising topics within our education environment on social media is if there should be a code of conduct for teachers on how to use social media as communication device, especially with regard to communicating to students. I know that our friend Ankie van den Broek¬†@ankievandenbroe¬†is preparing/discussing on a code of conduct¬†for her colleagues of ‘the¬†school¬†for teachers¬†of elementary en middle schools’ (called: PABO in Dutch.) What do you think? Should there be such a code, probably even University wide, which oblige our colleagues to contact students with social media in certain ways?

I agree on training how to use social media (which is very much needed), I agree on raising awareness of using social media, University wide (both teachers and students), but I am against a code of conduct. Social Media should be used free of rules as freedom of speech is used. The second part of that sentence is, for me, very important. Freedom of speech can also be abused and that’s not the intention of it. You should always be aware what you say! And you should try to be aware of the impact that has one the ones that can hear/read your message. (Un)fortunately with Social Media that are potentially a lot of people! This awareness should be in the standard package of our colleagues. But is it? And how about the students? And what about the children of elementary and middle schools, for whom we are training the teachers? Should there be a code of conduct? History has proven that neither adults or children always are able to use the ‘freedom op speech’ the way it was intended. And whom I am to say how it was intended?

Well I have another argument against a code of conduct. And that’s the impossibility to preserve the code when it is in effect. How do we monitor total online behavior, and how do we¬†react on misbehavior. The simplest way seems to be reacting on the person that doesn’t act along the code, but this person has always the possibility to change¬†his/her online identity and continue his/her bad behavior.

The only way seems to me are the three A’s: Awareness, Acceptance, (and again) Awareness.

  • Teachers¬†and Students¬†should be made aware of the fact that Social Media can’t be controlled and that the only rule that really matters is the rule of ‘freedom of speech’ and that that rule comes with a responsibility.
  • Teachers, Students and Management should accept that in this open and online world Social Media will be used and that it is not to be controlled by rules.
  • Teachers and Students should be made aware of the worldwide, everlasting impact speaking through Social Media has and which implications that has on using¬†the implications of ‘freedom of speech’ has.

Accept and be aware that technology has made our voices a powerful tool that can reach the world and beyond. Anything you say will be heard and will be used!

Greetz Marcel

Geplaatst op 8 september 2011, in English Jam, Social Media en getagd als , , , , . Markeer de permalink als favoriet. 1 reactie.

  1. Nice to see you guys going English with your blog.

    I agree that a “code of conduct” goes too far, but a set of guidelines (in line with the branding already set out by the board of directors) might be a good idea.

    I would like to refer you to the guidelines for social media as used by TNT (

    Any rules or guidelines should allow individual (university) employees plenty of freedom, otherwise they will be unlikely to use social media on behalf of their employer.

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