Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Administrator Skills in a Virtual Education Environment: Part II

One of the everyday tasks of the brick and mortar school administrator is that he or she must set the moral tone for the school. He or she must also make sure that they have developed strategies for dealing with lapses in moral judgement that occur in the relationships among students, relationships among staff and relationships between staff and students. This, of course, assumes that the administrator has sound moral judgment himself/herself. In 21st century societies, given the vast continuum of moral action or inaction, this is not something that can be taken for granted. Creeping moral relativism has clouded how we measure right from wrong behaviour.

What about the virtual education realm? We know from research on the environment of the brick and mortar school that the Internet has provided students with great potential for doing great things but it has also given us a window into the dark side of  how the Internet can be used to manipulate and even destroy the reputations of others. The use of IM, Facebook, Twitter has shown how these can be used to hurt others in many ways people in the past had never thought possible. Bullying, slander and discrimination now takes on global proportions and has had such tragic results as students taking their own lives. How can an online administrator get a handle on such things? The first thing to recognize is the nature of what students can do on an online environment without supervision. Students have never known a day when they weren't connected to the Internet while many adults, parents and teachers, are still playing catch up. Students know a great deal about the Internet but they don't know everything. One of the areas that does not appeal to a majority of them is networks and how they function. For many, the first introduction they have had to networks was through online gaming systems. It is in this area that an administrator needs to demonstrate his or her strength and when dealing with online students there needs to be a demonstration of that power. Use of such powerful network software such as "Net Support" gives teachers or administrators a tool that they can use to demonstrate "who is in control". There are a minority of student "crackers" often referred to as "script kiddies" who do have the power to thwart such a plan but not for long. Online administrators need to be security aware and have solutions to demonstrate their power.
Much of this depends on the LMS platform and what is built into it to maintain and keep power from the dark side.

More later on security.......

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