Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bad Teacher, Bad Teacher

MTI is fond of saying at one time MMSD told teachers to bring computers home and use them as their own. We are now quite aware that era is over. In fact MTI recommends its members be extra vigilant and assume all correspondence on work computers is recorded.  

There is a great divide between MTI's recommendation on the one hand, and actual practice on the other. Teachers and other staff members regularly check their Facebook or personal email on work computers or networks.

The first thing that needs to be put on the table is that for public access and work surveillance purposes, teachers should assume all communication on district computers or networks are being backed up and thus recorded nightly.   If one is using a district computer or device, wireless network, or Google services, they should be well aware these belong to the district NOT teacher or student users.

I have heard from teachers that I am not doing anything on Facebook that I would not want the district to know about.  That is fair enough, and that could be expanded to include Facebook is an interface that makes work related networking easier. There have been times I have needed to load up my personal email to access a file I needed for a work related project.

Most of us are well aware of the Wisconsin State Journal's assault on teachers by suing MMSD for sick notes.  That was not good enough for the Wisconsin State Journal so now they are broadening their request for information. With teachers being public enemy number 1, these requests will continue to broaden in the future. So to go back to Facebook, it is not simply the district having access to this information but also the Wisconsin State Journal or any group making a public records request.

With all this said, the reality remains that there are times you need to access your personal email or Facebook to carry out work related tasks. For years now when we do our online banking we see an https: instead of http:. You may also see your address bar show a lock or turn partially green. Https refers to a secure connection from one computer to another. The data or information is encrypted while it is transferred.

All Google services should be https enabled automatically, and Facebook offers this capability although its hidden. You may have to go into your Facebook settings and enable https. As a general rule never access any of your personal accounts if its not a https connection. If you do all your data will be accessible by MMSD and possibly the public itself.