ArtBeat– The University of Toronto UGME Arts and Humanities Blog

The purpose for this moderated blog is to promote a safe environment for creative expression and a respectful exchange of ideas in our learning communities about medical training and  the role of the arts and health humanities in improving the care of patients and their families.

For comprehensive details, please refer to policies listed under the “Appropriate Use of Information and Communication Technology” at the University of Toronto Office of the Vice President and Prevost website: http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/policy/use.htm

In summary, the following aspects of these policies govern the moderation of blogs:

Freedoms

The University of Toronto is committed to maintaining respect for the core values of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. In matters of freedom of speech versus responsible speech, it should be noted that speech using information and communications technology (ICT) is not intrinsically different from speech that does not use ICT. While the University does not censor information on its networks and servers, it will act on allegations about the distribution of unlawful material, about the use of its information technology to direct abusive, threatening or harassing communication at any individual or about any other inappropriate use. There is further discussion in the “Inappropriate Use…” section below.

When exercising free speech using the University’s ICT resources, such as when posting information to a publicly accessible file or web page, personal opinions must be identified as such, so that the reader understands the author is not speaking for the University. However, simply identifying an opinion as personal does not exempt it from the constraints of the law or the University’s policies and codes.

Unauthorized Use

For students, refer to section B.5.b of the Code of Student Conduct which addresses the use of computer systems for which access rights have not been granted, or using University facilities for commercial, disruptive or malicious purpose.

Discrimination and Harassment

Issues of harassment based on sex and sexual orientation are covered by the Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment, whether or not ICT is involved.

Issues of discrimination and discriminatory harassment, including harassment based on race and creed, are covered by the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment, whether or not ICT is involved.

Additionally, issues or harassment and discrimination are covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code of Canada,

Unsolicited correspondence (including spam) may be viewed as harassment by the recipient. The University policy on harassment, however, is concerned with comments that are directed at specific individuals because of their personal characteristics. If the correspondence is mass-mailed, it should be addressed under local rules for the service used, which should prohibit or restrict unsolicited bulk mail.

Users of e-mail are advised to delete spam without opening any attachments, and to turn off the “viewing pane” in their e-mail application so as to prevent message contents from appearing automatically.

Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property Rights Violations

Unauthorized copying of software is covered by the Canadian Copyright Act, and constitutes a criminal offence. The “fair use” provisions that apply to photocopies used for teaching do not apply to Web pages. The Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI) in Robarts Library can provide guidance to instructors.

The unauthorized use of any form of device to audiotape, photograph, video-record or otherwise reproduce lectures, course notes or teaching materials provided by instructors is covered by the Canadian Copyright Act and is prohibited. Students must obtain prior written consent to such recording. In the case of private use by students with disabilities, the instructor’s consent must not be unreasonably withheld.

In other situations where an individual photographs, audiotapes or otherwise records activities in which she or he is taking part, without the permission of other participants, the nature of the activities must be examined. Where participants have a reasonable expectation of privacy, unauthorised recording of their activities may be unlawful.

 In addition, the following blog guidelines may be useful for moderators (from the BBC’s moderation guidelines for blogs)

  1. Each commentator must log in with a unique name, and post as an individual

Names may be failed if they…

  • Contain website or email addresses
  • Contain contact information (i.e. phone numbers, postcodes, etc.)
  • Appear to impersonate someone else
  • Contain swear words or are otherwise objectionable
  1. Comments provided by individuals on blogs may be failed (or removed) for the following reasons:
  • Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others; statements considered threatening or abusive will not be tolerated
  • Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
  • Contain slander or libel (malicious or false claims about corporations or individuals)
  • Contain swear words or other language likely to offend
  • Break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes breach of copyright, defamation and contempt of court.
  • Advertise products or services for profit or gain
  • Are seen to impersonate someone else
  • Include contact details such as phone numbers, postal or email addresses
  • Contain links to other websites which break our Editorial Guidelines
  • Describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others
  • Are considered to be “spam”, that is posts containing the same, or similar, content posted multiple times
  • Are considered to be off-topic for the blog discussion

What do you think?

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