Tags: harvard | secret | photos | student | attendance

Harvard Secret Photos Used to Monitor Student Attendance: Report

By    |   Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 02:39 PM

Harvard secret photos, taken unbeknownst to students as part of an attendance study last spring, have evoked an outcry from the campus community.

Many are calling the study, revealed for the first time Tuesday at a faculty meeting, an invasion of privacy, The Boston Globe reported.

"We know there are hundreds of cameras all over Harvard, and we accept that they’re there for protection and safety and security," Peter Burgard, a Harvard German professor, told The Globe. "But the idea that photographs will be taken of a class in progress without having informed the students, much less the professor, is something very different. That is surveillance."

"You should do studies only with the consent of the people being studied," Harvard computer science professor Harry Lewis told the newspaper. Lewis wrote about the issue on his blog, "Bits and Pieces."

Though he acknowledges that the intent of the study — to give feedback on teaching that would help faculty members — was valid, he disagrees with the basic concept.

"We would all benefit, I think, from more peer feedback on our teaching. But none of us, students or faculty, want to be treated like inmates of some academic Panopticon, never knowing for sure whether we are being or have been under scrutiny while we were going about our daily business of teaching and learning," Lewis wrote.

Harvard Vice Provost Peter Bol replied to Lewis' concerns in a response printed on the blog, explaining the experiment in detail. It was designed to measure classroom attendance, he wrote, and the student images were all later destroyed.

Fox News said student Brett Biebelberg called the study "strikingly hypocritical," pointing to an honor code recently adopted by Harvard.

Harvard administrators were criticized for invasion of privacy once before in 2013 after revealing that they'd searched through thousands of school email accounts, The Globe reported.

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Harvard secret photos, taken unbeknownst to students as part of an attendance study last spring, have evoked an outcry from the campus community.
harvard, secret, photos, student, attendance
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2014-39-06
Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 02:39 PM
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