Blackboard

Technology in the classroom is increasingly popular among professors, and the recently introduced Blackboard system is no exception. Conveniences abound. Course blitz lists are automatically generated, handouts can be merely posted, leaving the printing up to the students and their feeble Greenprint quotas. Students can sign up for labs, check assignments, and even their grades using this system. But a feature of which most students are unaware is much less visible. The image database of the Dartmouth Card Office is synchronized with Blackboard, providing professors with the names and ID photos of each student enrolled in a specific course.

Such stunning technological morphing is intriguing to say the least, and raises questions as to potential raisons d’�tres for this. Is it to prevent cheating of sorts? Is roll call made easier by already matching a name with a face? Are students prone to taking exams for under-prepared friends? If so, this is a blow against the time tested Honor Principle. On a basic level, the use of this function smells of distrust and proctoring, not to mention a certain sniffle of big brother.