The OCT Professional Advisory

More notes from the ECOO conference. If you haven’t yet read the OCT advisory, here’s a summary of sorts.


  • Members are online, and there are both risks and responsibilities
  • Advisory is to all members of the College
  • It is “advice”, not POLICY

Social Media is… Electronic communication and social media encompassing software, applications (including those running on mobile devices) e-mail and websites, which enable users to interact, create and exchange information online.

Would you do it face to face? If you would do it in the classroom, then it’s okay. This is how you should measure your activity online.

  • Onus is on members (you can’t blame the students for initiating)
  • Off-duty conduct matters (you can’t take your teacher hat off at the door)
  • Exercise caution
  • Act professionally

Know the Dangers of Social Networks

  • Encourages casual dialogue
  • messages endure
  • control lost
  • potential widespread distribution
  • limited anonymity

Inappropriate use can be used in criminal proceedings.

Minimize your Risks

  • model good behaviour
  • advocate proper use
  • use established (BOARD: like the HWDSB Commons) platforms
  • use appropriate times
  • be courteous and professional
  • don’t exchange personal information
  • decline student “friend” requests
  • inform parents

Act Professionally

  • Consider consequences
  • Avoid criticism (of colleagues, parents, students)


  • Does it enhance student learning
  • Does it meet a professional need
  • Would the community approve
  • Is the content reasonable
  • Can it be misrepresented or misinterpreted
  • Is my knowledge current

This is a high level, motherhood advice document, with the hopes that school boards will begin to look at the advisory, in their context, and make more specific distinctions about what this looks like at each board (we are working on this policy within the 21CF team). We need to teach students what appropriate PROFESSIONAL conduct looks like, in an “edu-focussed” online community.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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1 Comment

  1. First off, congratulations to all involved in setting out this space! We all appreciate that with new paragigm exploration- increased mistakes, challenges, learnings and advancement occur. Your post is perfectly suited to map the groundwork for positive steps forward.

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