I was thinking about this lat night, and I guess my question is whether it is ethical to post quotations from student work online and anonymously. I see why it is done by yourself and others, but what of the legal implications? On the one hand, sharing student work with a name and with criticism could be considered harassment by some, but then again doing so without attribution could be considered copyright infringement (and not under fair use).I was worried about this, too, because when I posted the students comments, I was stretching an existing policy. I believe teachers need to be able to share student work with each other to improve teaching quality. For that reason, I include the following notice in all my syllabi:
That is, of course, if you didn't receive permission to reprint the quotation. If you did, then my question is moot.
My Rights Regarding Your Written WorkI'm not sure how many students read this note, or how many care. When I use examples of student work in class to teach students, I always use work from an entirely different institution, which avoids the main reason students would object to this sort of thing--that they would be embarrassed in front of their peers.
For the sake of improving my teaching and the teaching of others, I reserve the right to save copies of your written work to use as examples for other classes or examples in scholarly articles about teaching philosophy. When your work is used as an example of student work, it will be printed anonymously. If your work contributes to the substance of something I write, I will cite your work following the usual academic conventions. I’ll also probably spend time thanking you and saying you are brilliant. If you do not wish me to keep copies of your work, you must give me a written and signed statement to that effect.
Well, use in a classroom or scholarly article is not quite the same as a lamenting post on a blog, and although I do use this forum to talk about teaching issues, I can see why a student might object. If anyone objects, I will certainly take it down. I kinda got drawn into this without thinking about it. My first remark was just in a comment thread at another blog, then I moved it here because I thought others might be interested, then I posted a clarification No one actually asked for the clarification, but I felt an instinctive need to represent what had happened accurately.