I am in an online, accredited, public, post-baccalaureate degree program. I think it's the first time my instructor is teaching a university course -- at least at this institution.
The instructor said he had found someone to play the part of a potential client. We were supposed to have a simulated phone intake call with this person. She would give us her basic demographic information and the reason she was seeking legal and advocacy services, and we were supposed to probe for more information about the problem she was seeking help with, because the pretend client had been instructed not to volunteer all the important information on her own. We were to fill out an Excel template and then write a letter to the client.
The instructor provided feedback for my homework. When I read his response, I eventually came to understand that he had listened in secretly to the phone intake call. He had not made clear in the instructions that he would be listening in.
This made me uncomfortable. But I don't know if my reaction is reasonable. Are there any typical institutional guidelines, or ethical considerations, that would help me figure this out? I'm not sure whether this is something to let the program chair know about, or whether I need to adjust my own expectations.
I did let the instructor know a polite version of how I felt: "I hope that for future semesters you'll make clear that you'll be listening in on the call. I, for one, would be more comfortable knowing this ahead of time." The response: "I don't find this necessary. It should be presumed I am listening in on the assignment I provided so I can accurately grade." Note, I don't know why he didn't just play the part of the potential client himself....
- The school is in New York State (part of the SUNY system). From the exchange we had, I'm confident he only listened, and didn't record.
- I thought we would be evaluated and graded on the written submission (spreadsheet plus letter) only.
- I am asking about what's generally allowed or considered ethical by university policy or relevant professional organizations. Less interested in quasi-legal advice.
- I checked with a classmate. He didn't realize the instructor would be listening in either. He himself wasn't bothered but understood why I was.