I’m realizing that my concerns about self-identifying here were pretty dumb, so they’ve basically gone out the window. First, I think that CCC’s “Guidelines for the Ethical Treatment of Students and Student Writing in Composition Studies”, specifically Paragraph G, “Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Reporting Student Statements,” are incompletely thought out in the context of students writing on the World Wide Web. Those guidelines, and the associated concerns about IRB approval, affect my research, and so I initially thought trying to shape this weblog around them would be a good idea; I’d do my best to make it so that any future representations I might make in talking about my teaching would not be obviously connected to any particular student.
Of course, given whois and DNS lookup tools, I knew it was more a matter of convenience to get the information than anything else; it just didn’t occur to me at the time that protections via inconvenience really aren’t protections. And besides which, I think the guidelines need rethinking or clarification when it comes to Web writing, and it’s kinda silly for me to adjust my practices in order to go along with something that I don’t think works.
But, for me, this obviously raises larger questions. The ethical representation of student writing is important. IRB approval of classroom studies is a good thing. And the study of writing and computers needs more rigorous classroom studies; we’re doing the theory side to death without sufficient grounding in practice. So what might be some productive ways to think about this stuff?