More Rules? I don’t think so

As more schools grapple with Acceptable Use Policies to fit more devices and situations, I like this approach from Traci Gardner, who remixed Michael Hyatt’s reasons businesses don’t need a social media policy:

Consider these Five Reasons Why Your Company Doesn’t Need a Social Media Policy, from an article by Michael Hyatt, listed with a little rephrasing to fit the classroom:

  • Students can be trusted. As Hyatt explains, “If you expect them to be honest and trustworthy, they will be honest and trustworthy.”
  • Online discussions are just one more way to communicate. I don’t write up lists of manners for every interaction students will have. Imagine how silly I’d look if I passed out the rules of etiquette for office hours, for instance.
  • More rules just make the classroom more patriarchal. How can I encourage student ownership for the work of the class if I sit around passing out rules?
  • Formal rules only discourage students from participating.Rules “make people hesitate.” If students hesitate or decide not to respond, online discussion suffers.
  • I already have policies that govern inappropriate behavior.Not only do I already have the acceptable use policies to fall back on, there are policies already in place for every situation from an honor code violation to disruptive or threatening behavior.

Actually, I would take things further by eliminating the AUP all together. Students behavior is best determined by agreed upon guidelines and dealt with regardless of whether technology is involved or not. Ongoing discussions about online behavior, appropriate commenting, and much more will allow students to learn and grow. Our social media world changes too quickly to come up with an arbitrary list of rules to follow.

Our online world is our world. Why do we differentiate?

3 thoughts on “More Rules? I don’t think so

  1. Agreed, Susan, it would be better to address behavior regardless of the medium. I think that Hyatt’s piece gets at that point better than I do. There are certainly better ways to deal with classroom conduct and student behavior.

    I talked about AUPs because I believe most schools have them, and they’re unlikely to go away. Sort of like the Terms of Service on various websites. Since they’re there, and the students will have already agreed to them in order to logon, why waste any more time on rules?

  2. Yes, I agree, Traci. Most do. I hope we might consider eliminating them soon, but this is a good first step.

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