Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"No, that's not my property"

The student who had asked a lot of questions concerning Volda College, our education and how we are thinking about marketing and promoting the study refused when I wanted to read the final work for which he was to use my answers. Why? BI, which is a commercial college, claims that the student paper is their property and they can't let the student give it out. Why not? Because they are planning to use it for their marketing.

That changed the entire situation for met. Had I known I was answering to research BI was going to use to develop their marketing strategy I might very well have refused to answer. I thought I was contributing to something which would be available to all the relevant colleges, in a general pool of knowledge to develop further understanding and cooperation. No such thing.

The student was a dear, he understood that I was upset and will do what he can to give me what he is permitted to give out. But if his work is an independent student work he should retain the rights for it, and be permitted to give it out freely (of course after suitable anonymisation of respondants). If it is something BI pays him for, he should have told me right away that it was not a student paper, but marketing research for the school. As a researcher, I am upset about the bad and dodgy ethics of the methodology, as a person I feel used.

And who will asess this? By refusing to give the information in that paper out to anybody connected to the information educations in Norway, they are effectively isolating the paper from being assessed from any of those working at or connected to the same educations. This means they will need to use assessors who are not in touch with the general level of student work at the other educations. They will of course find competent people outside of the colleges, but this sounds like unhealthy tactics: to be so competitive that they can not let they students be compared to the students of other relevant educational institutions.

Come here, public educational system, let me hug you!

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