Class Scribe: A Modern Approach to Notetaking; Data Privacy: How Did We Get Here And Where Are We Going?
Watkins, John, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, University of Virginia
My theses differ pretty heavily. My technical thesis involved how to improving education
by improving notetaking which is critical when it comes to absorbing material in a class. My STS
research involved studying data privacy, by using SCOT to understand how we got where we are
currently with how our personal data is collected by companies and used or sold by said companies.
But my STS thesis also discovered solutions to this problem, such as laws that give people more
control over what data companies can collect about them or whether or not they can sell their data,
empowering the, with rights to privacy. But it also studied education and how it can help younger
generations understand the privacy of their personal data and how they can maintain it, while the
technical thesis primarily focused on improving education.
The technical thesis focuses on making a product that can help students take notes
seamlessly with an object that resembles a lamp. A student can simply scan their IDs on the lamp
and begin intermittently taking pictures of the student and the lamp will automatically upload these
notes to a website so they can be viewed later. This bridges the gap between using something like
a laptop or tablet to take notes and using simply a pencil and paper. It gives the benefit of having
the notes available digitally while not distracting the student with a digital screen. And it has also
been shown in many different pieces of scientific literature that taking notes physically with a
writer utensil boosts comprehension and absorption of the information. There needs to be more
features added on the website in order to better help teachers to connect other students in a class
with other students notes.
The STS thesis examines how society has gotten to this state of data privacy. Major tech
companies like Facebook and Google have developed business models where people are given
free services like search engines and social media platforms in exchange for their personal data
they can sell to third parties. It mainly uses the interesting concept of the privacy paradox, which
says people say they care about privacy but don’t take any meaningful actions to better their online
privacy. The way to address this problem is enacting legislation like the California Consumer
Privacy Act, which allows Californians, for example, to know what entities have access to their
data a company collects and determine whether a company can sell their data or not. But not only
is legislation needed, but also people, especially younger generations, need to better educated on
BS (Bachelor of Science)