Google dominates earth

This week, outside the Western "bubble" on campuses around the world...

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Halifax " Recently at Dalhousie University in Halifax, a website glitch allowed students in a first-year chemistry class to see answers to their upcoming assignments. Now, 109 engineering students at Dal have been labeled “cheaters” by various media outlets.

According to Dalhousie Student Union President Mike Tipping, this label is unwarranted.

“Fact is that students that aren’t convicted of anything shouldn’t be described as cheaters,” Tipping said.

Dal’s Dean of Science, Keith Taylor, said further investigation concluded a significant number of those students did not engage in any academic dishonesty.

A loophole in a website created by Blackboard Learning Systems allowed the students to use the same address to view answers for both past and upcoming assignments " a discovery that, not surprisingly, spread like wildfire through the engineering department.

Two students eventually notified the department about the glitch. So far, none of the students involved have been expelled, but the few found guilty received a zero on the particular assignments.

More than anything, the students at Dal deserve a pat on the back for ‘fessing up to their unexpected online hoodwink. Let’s face it; it’s hardly cheating the system if it’s accidental.

Dublin, Ireland " Google is now one step closer to world domination: the online powerhouse has begun integrating its services into universities.

Trinity College in Dublin is one of several universities switching its entire campus e-mail network to the Google system.

The outsourcing of Trinity’s e-mail system will benefit the university financially. However, there are privacy concerns over Google gaining access to the sensitive information stored on campus e-mail servers.

According to Tim Blackmore, professor of information and media studies at Western, the costs of outsourcing campus e-mail outweighs the gains.

“There are enormous privacy concerns... if the back door were open, [the university] wouldn’t know,” Blackmore said.

“The only advantage that I can see for a university is that it would be cheaper… [but] one lawsuit later and it would cheaper for them to run their own server.”

A recent survey published by Privacy International singled out Google for being “hostile” to privacy.

Uh oh. The cheapskates at Trinity might be making a big mistake with this one.

Kent, Ohio " Due to illegal music downloading, 10 Kent State students are now facing lawsuits from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Back in February, the RIAA stepped up efforts to nab illegal downloaders by closely monitoring file-sharing programs like Limewire and KaZaa.

American colleges are a prime RIAA target, as over half of the students illegally download music, according to a report by the Student Monitor " a market research firm.

Unfortunately for the downloaders at Kent State, the lawsuits mean pricey: penalties may be anything from $750 to $150,000.

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