Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Rights Protection Proposed for Digital Learners

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Rights Protection Proposed for Digital Learners

Article excerpt

A group of academics in North America have drafted a "bill of rights" for online students over fears that their interests are being undermined by developments in digital education.

The "Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age" outlines fundamental rights that students should be able to demand from universities, colleges and companies that offer online courses. They include a right to privacy, to own one's own intellectual property and to financial transparency.

The bill emerged from a summit convened by Sebastien Thrun, co-founder of the massive open online course (Mooc) provider Udacity, and his wife Petra Dierkes-Thrun, a lecturer in comparative literature at Stanford University. It is signed by 10 other people who are well known in the field of online learning.

"The internet has made it possible for anyone on the planet to be a student, a teacher, and a creative collaborator at virtually no cost," the bill states. "Novel technologies that can catalyze learning are bubbling up in less time than it takes to read this sentence."

The document recognises that the proliferation of online courses, and particularly Moocs, gives students an "awe-inspiring opportunity" to learn. …

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