Privacy & Research Guidelines

#WalkMyWorld is a collaborative network of teachers in higher education and K-12 developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the 
open webMany of our participants are also researchers, and may look to the #Walkmyworld community as a source of research insight and material. 

This may leave you with a few questions:


A goal of #WalkMyWorld is to see the benefits of learning on the open web, but privacy matters. Participants who are worried about their privacy are encouraged to use a pseudonym and you will never be required to post a picture of yourself.

All teachers are strongly encouraged to review their local acceptable use policy to ensure they follow all school policies regarding the posting of student data. We will make our best effort to identity Terms of Service that do not allow participation by minors under the age of thirteen but it is the responsibility of individual teachers to ensure compliance with Terms of Service and their Acceptable Use Policy.

What does public and "in the open" mean?

Online communication, such as tweets, blog posts, and comments are generally out in the open and technically “public” and available for researchers to analyze and quote. Internet researchers have, however, documented how a particular communication may be technically public but viewed by the individual who posted it as meant for a more limited or private context. 

Even if an individual feels that they have “published” in public or have consented to be part of research, they might still feel like trust has been violated if their words are taken up and re-framed in a way that they feel is out of context or misrepresented.
Public posts on social networks:

This includes Public posts, comments, and artifacts shared on sites, apps and platforms such as Twitter, G+, blogs, Facebook, and      Zeega:
  • Researchers can analyze and publish data that is de-identified or aggregated in ways that cannot be traced back to an individual.
  • Any identifiable quotes or descriptions of activities should not be used in a research publication or presentation without the permission of the individual. This includes anonymized or pseudonymized quotes, because they can be linked back through a search engine to an individual public posting.

Interviews and Surveys

Participants in #WalkMyWorld  may also be contacted and recruited to participate in surveys and interviews for specific research studies. In these cases, it will be incumbent upon the researcher to offer a clear explanation of the consent and privacy procedures, how the data will be used, and what benefit the research will provide to the individual and the #WalkMyWorld community. The researcher should also consider offering interviewees the opportunity to review transcripts and quotes.

In fact participants may be asked to complete an additional consent form which was reviewed and approved by an Institutional Review Board. This is an independent group  at every college and university that ensures participants are protected when faculty and staff conduct research. 

These community guidelines were adapted from Ito (2014). CC 2.0. Community Guidelines for Research Activity. which were in turned taken from a study of the open course, Rhizo 14.

Image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Z