For the record, I haven’t received any reply from Steve Sloan’s boss yet to the email I sent late last week. One of the two classes I’m in right now ends today, so starting tomorrow I’ll have a bit more time to make phone calls and do some good old fashioned shoe leather reporting. I will write a story about this, whether or not I can get any response from Steve’s boss or SJSU in general.
What does interest me, of course, is the way this story has been looked at by the blogs, education-centered and otherwise..
Some folks see Steve’s attitude as naive. Life (over IP) writes:
“free speech does not extend to employment. And yes, as a contractor for SJSU, contacting students brings up ethical questions, like: did he get releases from the students so he could include their voices on his podcasts, commercial or not? Clear potential conflict of interest, since he can be viewed as an agent of the University.“
I’m still not real sure why this justifies forbidding Steve to talk to students on his podcast on hiw own time and gear. “An agent of the University”? Does that mean that every Professor represents SJSU in every conversation they have? If I participate freely in a discussion on a Professor’s blog, so I have to sign a release?
Will R. at Weblogg-ed sees this situation as “the chaotic side of transparency.” Will emphasizes that fine line between what is work and what is your own time, but I still don’t see any conflict that would allow the University to tell Steve he can’t do what he wants when he’s off the clock.
It seems all too fitting now that Steve called that podcast “Before the Bleeding Edge” — We were fooling ourselves a bit, of course, knowing how many other Universities (and J-Schools, in fact) are integrating blogs and even podcasts into their cirriculum, or if not their cirriculum, then into the way faculty and students interact and communicate with each other, and perhaps just as important, they way the University community interacts with the world outside the walls.
I’m off to a full day of quizzes and finals – I’ll keep writing about this here as I get more information.