Monday, 27 March 2017

Privacy and Territoriality Issues in an Online Social Learning Portal

an article by Mohd Anwar (North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, USA) and Peter Brusilovsky (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA) published in International Journal of Information Security and Privacy Volume 11 Issue 1 (January-March 2017)


Following the popularity of Wikipedia, community authoring systems are increasingly in use as content sharing outlets.

As such, a Web-based portal for sharing of user-generated content (e.g., course notes, quiz answers, etc.) shows prospect to be a great tool for social E-Learning. Among others, students are expected to be active contributors in such systems in order to offer and receive peer-help. However, privacy and territoriality concerns can be potential barriers to wide adoption of such technology.

Understanding the preference for sharing learning content is the first step to address privacy and territoriality concerns of content providers. The authors conduct a survey among students in four university courses in order to learn their preference for sharing notes and quiz answers with three target groups: instructor, peer, and stranger (i.e., someone outside their class).

The authors also examine the preference for acceptable method of sharing by inquiring about three methods: “anonymous sharing,” “pseudonymous sharing,” and “sharing with name”. They further investigate the importance of “content type,” “sharing method,” and “accessor type” on the preference for sharing.

The survey also reveals respondents’ self-reported reasons for controlling access to their generated learning content. The survey data indicate that even though the respondents have various levels of concerns, almost all of them are willing to share.

The authors observe relationships between content type and respondents’ preference over each of these parameters: accessor type, commentator type, and sharing method.

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