Just got done listening to Jim Groom of U. of Mary Washington talk about a novel idea – at least novel to me: giving students life long registered domain names – that become a place for them to document their growth, learning, understanding and professional life. The university is apparently playing with the idea of giving every student a ‘lifelong web presence’ – something far more significant than just a ‘University email address for life’. Interestingly enough they actually began this idea by creating student spaces within WordPress.
Jim’s idea goes far further though – he spoke of creating an online space that has function for adding differing types of content over time – which the student would be in charge of and responsible for updating, and ultimately owning.
I harmonized with the idea that the early years of the Internet brought about freedom by anonymity – you could post anything anywhere about any idea. Yet the technology of today (with the confluence of multiple technologies toward identification of users online) is quickly evaporating our ability to be anonymous anywhere. What if (however) we were to give a student a space that they’d be keeping for longer than just the few years they attend college – or even gradeschool – so that they have a place they own and can organize however they see fit. Rather than having to rely on Facebook or MySpace to check out potential hires, employers could simply go to that individuals own page and see what it is that person indicated about themselves.
It definitely presents some interesting new thoughts about how schools would provide this type of service, who owns the ‘data’ (should be the student), and what happens if the school itself dissolves or if the school no longer wants to be affiliated with the student later in life.