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Winter Session Course; Course dates: Jan 4 - Jan 29, 2021; Open to Degree and CDE students
In an age where every detail about our lives is shared, bought, sold, monetized, and sometimes stolen, is there any way that we can protect our personal privacy? What legal protections exist for us? What protections should exist? How can we protect our privacy with the tools that we know about? The first week, we will learn why privacy is important and look at some of the main harms that can arise when private information is lost. In the second week, we will assess the ways that our privacy can be compromised; discuss why it is so profitable to invade our privacy and the businesses whose model is to do so; and analyze the laws of the United States that protect our privacy (or purport to) and compare them with privacy regimes in other countries. In the final week we will consider the technological aspects of privacy and data security and learn practical techniques and tools for protecting our own privacy in the online world.
By the end of the class, students will be able to explain the role privacy plays in society; argue why privacy is important; be aware of the harms that can arise from invasions of privacy; identify and interpret the U.S. laws that protect their privacy; describe how the U.S. privacy regime differs from other, international regimes; employ strategies to protect their own privacy and recognize online and offline privacy threats; describe and identify data security threats and protect their own information online; and engage in the ongoing privacy debate and prepare for future privacy concerns. Course Materials: Reading assignments and materials will be posted on Blackboard for each class. Assigned reading materials will include articles and videos. Each week there will be one long video. The way the course is set up, you can pace yourself each week, but be prepared to set aside about an hour for each scheduled day to do the readings. There is a lot of information I could provide you, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. I will provide optional readings on many days. The extra credit questions on the weekly tests will ask about the optional readings.
Each scheduled day (note there are no modules on weekends or New Year’s Day), students should: 1. Read materials and/or view the required video. 2. Consider writing a journal entry. 3. Post any questions to the discussion board. A major component of the course will be your personal journal. You will use the journal to integrate the knowledge that you’ve learned in class. Journal entries need not be long, a few paragraphs will suffice if they adequately convey the information. You must complete at least six journal entries over the course of the class. There are three topics I’d like to see in the journal, and you should complete each of the topics twice (This is described in more detail in a separate entry in the Syllabus section): 1. Provide a real-world example that represents something you learned in a module. 2. Explain how something you learned in a model could change, or has changed your own behavior vis a vis your privacy. 3. Argue against or critique something you read in the module’s material. You can pick and choose which of the modules to respond to. You only need respond to half of them. You can decide how to respond to a particular module by choosing one of the above three responses. You just have to do at least two of each over the course of the semester. Each week there will be a test on that week’s material. You will have four hours to complete the test, though it should take much less time. Tests are open book/open notes – I highly recommend that when you take the test, you do so with complete access to the readings (i.e print them out or have them on your computer), as you may want to refer back to them. The tests cannot be paused, so please set aside time to take them when you won’t be bothered. Each test will go live at the beginning of the Friday and will stay live for 48 hours (until the end of Saturday), to give you time to take the test. If you have not taken the test by the end of that time (or you have not provided a very good excuse), you will receive a 0 for that test, with no exceptions. If you have questions about the materials, post them in general questions discussion board. Posting thoughtful questions or observations will count toward extra credit. If other students weigh in with answers, that will count toward extra credit. I will leave questions alone for at least a few hours to give other students a chance to respond before I do. You can also email me at email@example.com, but I would prefer you post in the discussion board first so that others can benefit from your questions. Privacy issues raise lots of interesting questions and I hope that this class will be a forum for you to pose questions and to volunteer your own thoughts and ideas in the general discussion board. Grading: Your grade in the course will be based on the following (subject to change): 55% Journal 45% Tests (15% for each test) Journal entries will not be individually graded (Blackboard doesn’t let you do that), but you will see a single Journal grade which will be updated over the course of the class to let you know how you’re doing on your journal. Note that I am offering many opportunities for you to obtain extra credit (through the discussion board, or in extra credit questions on the tests), so if you feel the need to bring your grade up, you can do so.
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