Page 44 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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top of the list, are we led to many other values from there?
Campbell: Yes. And that central principle of integrity is one that we are privileged to uphold. We are in a position to lead the way with the intellectual record of the species. And we are charged with responsibility and stewardship of all those values — that’s essential to our profession.
CT: What are some of the implications of our use of the internet in higher education, especially in a time of crisis like we have now?
Campbell: A question comes to us, of where the academy stands in relation to a global, light-speed telecommunications network with the potential, realized more and more every day, of reaching a substantial proportion of the human beings on this planet. The internet has the capability to do, on a global scale, what communications platforms are designed to do: bring us together across barriers of time and space, barriers of language, barriers of ability and disability, of identity and context and culture ... to give us a place where we can meet and begin, in new ways, to learn from each other and create together.
CT: And to maintain higher education’s
cherished values while taking advantage of this technology for keeping afloat in a crisis?
Campbell: Yes. What the internet has represented for me, for my students and colleagues, and for the world as a whole over the years, is an extraordinary opportunity to get to that central value of integrity, and to work together for the betterment of humankind and the planet we share.
And we all know about the ugly and destructive side of the internet: surveillance capitalism, weaponized disinformation, predatory behavior on a new and newly destructive scale. We acknowledge there is difficult and contentious work to be done to mitigate these dangers. We fear that some harms may well be irreparable.
Yet the internet retains the vision of an open society, of freedoms that are easily abused but just as easily destroyed — destroyed in the name of values such as security, ease of use, sustainability and others. Good and important values, to be sure, but they must be realized within the framework of an open society. And where would higher education be in a scenario of threatened internet freedoms? Obsessed with certain types of closed learning environments? And rather than entering an open internet experience, would our students

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