Millions of Canadians are at home, schools are closed, and Canada is undergoing an unprecedented shift to distance or online learning. Adapting course materials to the online learning environment can create significant new challenges for teachers and students alike. Open educational resources (OERs) provides a model for convenient, cost-effective access with no copyright barriers to worry about, expensive texts to purchase, or restrictions on adaptation, customization or re-use. David Porter, who has been a leader in open and distance learning since the 1990s, joins the podcast to discuss how the current shift to online learning places the spotlight on the benefits of OERs and open textbooks.
Archive for March, 2020
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 45: David Porter on the Benefits of Open Educational Resources as Millions Shift to Online Learning
How Canada Should Ensure Cellphone Tracking to Counter the Spread of Coronavirus Does Not Become the New Normal
With experts warning that the Coronavirus pandemic may last well into next year, the urgency of limiting the spread of the virus is sure to increase. Cellphone and social media data will increasingly be viewed as a valuable sources of information for public health authorities, as they seek to identify outbreaks in communities more quickly, rapidly warn people that they may have been exposed to the virus, or enforce quarantine orders. My Globe and Mail op-ed notes the data culled from these sources may prove invaluable, but they raise exceptionally difficult challenges of balancing public health concerns with fundamental privacy rights.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 44: Michael Birnhack on Israel’s Use of Cellphone Tracking to Combat the Spread of Coronavirus
With experts warning that the Coronavirus pandemic may last well into next year, the urgency of limiting the spread of the virus is sure to increase. Cellphone and social media data will increasingly be viewed as a valuable source of information for public health authorities, as they seek to identify outbreaks in communities more quickly, rapidly warn people that they may have been exposed to the virus, or enforce quarantining orders. Israel has implemented a system that involves the collection and use of cellphone location data to identify at-risk individuals, who may receive text messages warning that they need to self-quarantine. That system has been challenged at the Israeli Supreme Court, which last week rejected elements of the plan and established a requirement of Israeli parliament approval for the measures. Tel Aviv University law professor Michael Birnhack joins me on the podcast to discuss the details of the measures and the civil liberties and democratic concerns they raise, even at a time of global crisis.
Canadian privacy law is now widely regarded as outdated and ill-equipped to address the emerging challenges that arise from the massive collection and use of personal information. Canada’s private sector privacy law was drafted in the 1990s, well before the advent of a data-driven economy and the need for reform has grown increasingly urgent as Canadian law falls behind comparable rules around the world.
Guided by Canada’s Digital Charter, a roadmap for reform released last spring, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains has promised to lead on privacy reform. While many may expect opposition to tougher privacy rules to come from large Internet companies such as Facebook, my Globe and Mail op-ed notes that a recent report from the Business Council of Canada suggests that a bigger barrier may come from some of Canada’s largest companies, including big banks, airlines, retailers, insurance providers, and telecom giants.
The LawBytes Podcast, Episode 43: Heather Joseph on the Coronavirus and the Urgent Need for Open Access to Research Publications
Over the past several weeks, our world has been upended by Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Given the head-spinning changes taking place in our society, there is a widely recognized need for immediate open access to the latest research and medical developments. Yet despite the fact that the public often funds research in the area, the conventional publishing model often places that information behind paywalls or subscription fees. Heather Joseph, the Executive Director of SPARC, joins me on the podcast this week to discuss the response from publishers, funders and other stakeholders to the urgent need for access to COVID-19 research and what the response tells us about the issue of open access to scholarly research more broadly.