So, here I am, back at Uni for my final year.
It feels oddly comforting to be back, like seeing an old friend who wraps their arms around you and gives you a massive hug...then says, sorry, gotta go, things are a bit chaotic right now!
I've been here properly for a week now and can confirm that things are at least as chaotic as before, with building works going on, unstable timetables and equipment needed for practical sessions not working properly. This is one of those places where you come to expect things not being up to scratch, so rather than just get angry, you roll your eyes and try to find another way.
That said, there is one thing that immediately fixed my Victor Meldrew head firmly into place.
One of our Semester A modules is titled Professional Issues in Computing where, obviously, we talk about ethical, social, legal and environmental issues with regards computing practices, amongst other things. The tutor who has taken over the module this year kicked things off with a public discussion thread for breaking the ice, where we had to introduce ourselves and provide links to our Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, as well as upload a copy of our CVs.
As someone who can be a bit of a control freak at times, this put me on the alert. This is access to my personal data in a public forum where people who I do not necessarily want to share it with will be able to see it. Bearing in mind I left Facebook two years ago for a number of reasons, I was not overly keen on re-opening my account: bizarrely, just the mention of the site gets my hackles up, something normally reserved for one or two individuals, not something that doesn't physically exist!
Communication with the tutor resulted in him telling me to open a dummy account as we will be using the site for reference as part of our studies. Great. So now I have one dummy account ... and have re-opened my original account, only to have the interface change within a day of being back on. Either I just have excellent timing or they're still just rolling stuff out randomly :-/
Then the Victor-head really got into gear, considering the implications of the ice breaker request and seeing how other students were placing links and CVs into the forum without any consideration of their own data privacy; publishing documents with full contact details, none of them seeming to appreciate that the information wasn't only available to those on the course, but also to anybody with access to the Uni's student portal.
So I said as much.
Interestingly, the tutor, who had been responding to people's introductions up to that point, went silent.
To me, it seems a bit off that someone teaching professional issues is not just asking us to disclose all our personal data in a public forum, but is requiring it as part of the module: the guide states that posting the CV to the student portal is part of our first assignment.
Isn't this request contrary to the concept of professional behaviour?