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Purdue To Block Netflix, Streaming Services In Classrooms

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Students using laptops (WFIU/WTIU News File)

Purdue University is blocking Netflix and other popular streaming services with little to no academic use in the classroom for a pilot program aimed at improving reliable connections to academic sites in the school's largest lecture halls.

School officials are blocking the streaming services for the first 10 weeks of the fall semester to test whether that will give students and faculty reliable connections for academic sites through Purdue Air Link, the West Lafayette campus' wireless service.

The block will affect services such as Hulu, Netflix, Apple, iTunes and Steam in four of the university's largest lecture halls.

So far, there haven't been concerns or complaints from students and faculty about the blocking technology, said Julie Kercher-Updike, Purdue's deputy chief information officer.

"I expected to hear back with some mumbles and groans," she said. "What I heard back was one faculty member saying, 'How can I get this shut off in my classroom?' ... I did not receive any emails from faculty saying that they thought this was a bad thing."

Kercher-Updike said to expect a recommendation about whether the blocking technology will be installed in other classrooms.

"I think we really want to drive this through the semester, as students ... start to let their minds wander and want to listen to something other than a biology class," said Mark Sonstein, executive director of Purdue's IT infrastructure services. "Then I think maybe we'll see more activity. Right now, it's too early in the semester for anybody to be actively pursuing other things in the class time."

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