Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Your Partner in Teaching Excellence

Ira does a lot of posts at his SpeEd Change Blog about technology issues in education and professors who have no idea how to use computers. I'll admit that I am planning to learn a lot in that area starting when I get home. Sadly, I was not entirely sure what an Ipod actually does until Claire had owned one for about three months!

Here is an assistant professor who has a better grasp of technology than most, sadly: he's an econ instuctor who was busted for surfing porn sites on his computer at work. I'm not sure how you get caught for that, and am just glad that I don't use the internet at all when I'm at work. Actually, I find the idea of a university giving a shit about what their assistant profs look at on their office computers to be a bit chilling...

Anyway, he also sent a number of completely cringe-inducing emails to a fellow prof about his sexy students, and cheerleaders, and used underwear. You can read them here. I've never really understood the appeal of professor/student relationships. Kids just don't do it for me. I need a full-grown woman, preferably a Canadian social worker. But that's just me!

[Update: It's a weird one, eh? The guy is obviously about as horny as a Woody Allen character. However, the article makes it sound like he's in trouble for having sexual fantasies that he shared with a co-worker who clearly was on the same wavelength. It says that he basically lost his job for looking at porn at the office. I can't imagine doing that, but seriously, who gives a shit, provided that he's in his office, alone, and not harassing cowokers, or stroking one off in the faculty lounge? Am I missing something here?]

[Update 2: I should also note that I am writing this having mistakenly imbibed something called the "Amsterdam Maximator" tonight, which has a significantly higher alcohol content (11.6%) than I had expected. So, it's very likely that I am missing a lot in this article! For the record though, I am nowhere near the university right now!]

5 comments:

narrator said...

Having never understood the prof/student relationship either (from either direction), I still think it is crazy to be busting someone for privately shared fantasies. It's reminiscent of the witch-hunts in Massachusetts back in the early 60s for gay profs who shared "pornography."

I know there are university administrators, Republican politicians, and cops all fantasizing crazier stuff than this.

Rufus said...

Having looked at it again today, when I'm... um, soberer, I'm wondering if there isn't something more to this story, like say this guy trying to score with a student and her telling the admins to keep an eye on him. I suspect that there's a backstory here.

Also, it's probably unfair of me, but when I was reading those emails about him trying to score with students, I just assumed he was talking out his ass. I envisioned some dorky econ prof with a bowtie. But, for all we know, he might really have been hooking up with students. Again, I don't get it. College students are still at that dopey teenager phase. Not my cup of tea.

But, again, the article says that he got fired for surfing porn in his office at work. That just strikes me as weird reasoning. I'd hate to speculate as to how many office workers surf for porn at work, but I'm guessing it's more than one or two.

gregvw said...

I was reading this calmly until I got to the part about the 99-cent Goodwill lingerie and then I got the jibblies.

Rufus said...

Yeah, that pretty much takes the cake as the last activity you'd ever want to run into a prof while he was engaging in it.

Brian Dunbar said...

Actually, I find the idea of a university giving a shit about what their assistant profs look at on their office computers to be a bit chilling ... can't imagine doing that, but seriously, who gives a shit, provided that he's in his office, alone, and not harassing cowokers,

Lord knows I don't - and I'm in the same department as the guys that run the servers that monitor that stuff (we share a common manager, two steps up).

Don't think of it as a university, think of it as an employer. Employers care for a couple of reasons - the big one is that if they don't take reasonable action to stop employees from looking at porn they open themselves to all kinds of legal action. That gets expensive and makes them look bad.

Me, I'd prefer to hack the issue socially - Don't look at porn, it's bad and makes your co-workers uncomfortable. But this is tough and squishy and hard to enforce if you have a company larger than a dozen people.

So they go for the technical fix - watch email for naughty words or phrases, ditto for surfing. It's easier.

This is why I really like encryption. Encrypt your email - then it can't be sniffed as it traverses the wire. Use onion routing with your browser - the traffic sails right past IT's firewall and while they still know your traffic is going out and coming back it's opaque - they can't see where it comes from or what's in it.

This leaves the computer as a point of vulnerability - and desktop encryption is not quite as handy as it should be.