Faculty members at Our Lady of the Lake University recently noticed some newcomers in their courses: administrators and staffers, including their department chairs and program directors.
Without notifying the faculty or asking for permission, professors say, the university has given administrators the ability to add themselves to courses in Blackboard Learn, the university’s learning management system. The faculty members only discovered the monitoring after a professor noticed the new names on the course roster while composing an email. Word then spread to other faculty members, who noticed the same in their own courses.
One faculty member, who is on the tenure track and spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed concern that administrators would read emails intended for students in the class — schedule changes, canceled class sessions and so on — without the context of what goes on in the classroom.