Presentation from ethics workshop at the CDE’s Research and Innovation in Distance Education and eLearning conference, held at Senate House London on 19 October 2012. Conducted by Ormond Simpson and Gwyneth Hughes.
6. One quarter of people in the UK don’t have internet access of any kind and they are the quarter who are most educationally disadvantaged. You might argue that access to e-learning is growing so the problem will disappear. But in the current economic climate it will be years before we have anything like 100% access – if ever.#
20. Thanks very much!
You be the judge - some ethical dilemmas in distance education
‘You be the judge – ethical dilemmasin open and distance learning’ Gwyneth Hughes Ormond Simpson
Increasing interest in ethical issues in UK?Recent issues in UK TV broadcastingNews International phone hacking sagaThe global banking crisis
Ethical issues in Distance Education‘…search of the literature reveals little concern with ethical questions among the community of professionals in distance education and open learning’ (Visser, 2001)Increasing use of IT in DE may actually enhanceunethical behaviours because of ‘psychologicaldistance’ (Gearhart 2001)
Commitments and ethical reasoning (Pratt 1998) Two types of commitment to guide ethical reasoning: 1. commitment to justice 2. commitment to caring
Ethical issues in distance learning Example 1 Moving into E-learning care
UK household internet accessSocial classes A-B twice the access of classes D-E
Ethical issues in distance learning Example 1 Moving into E-learning care justice ?
Ethical dilemma 1 Is it right to insist that distance students study by e-learning and must have access to the internet to study?
Ethical issues in open learning Example 2 Using the ‘predicted probability of success’ (pps) model ‘Binary regression statistics’ based on resultsof previous students, attaches a ‘predictedprobability of success’ (pps) to new UKOUstudents. Predictions are accurate to 1-2% for anyreasonable sized group of students
The ‘’predicted probability of success’ (pps) model - new UKOU students entering in 2004number of students in band 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 Predicted probability of success (pps) band %
The ‘’predicted probability of success’ (pps) model - predicted success vs. actual10080604020 0 0 to 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 to 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 to 90 to 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 predicted probability of success actual success rate
Pps model – the ethical issues1. targeting support?2. disclosure?
Pps model – the ethical issues 2. Disclosure Commitment to justice?- student entitled to know to avoid wasting his time and money [UK Data Protection Law] Commitment to care?- but what would be the effect of being told your prediction?
Ethical dilemma 2Should we tell someone they have a low chance of success or not? 10000 number of students in 8000 6000 band 4000 2000 0 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100 pps band
My Ethical Dilemmas1. Should we insist on e-learning?2. Should we tell students their chances of success?
The hive as learning environment• Queen Bees- Fed by workers. Purpose is reproduction• Worker Bees – collect pollen and make wax• Drones – Fed by workers and cannot survive outside the hive. One will fertilise the Queen.• Hughes, G. (2011) Queen bees, workers and drones: gender performance in virtual learning groups. In Kirkup, G. (Ed) Gender issues in learning and working with IT IGI Global, Pennsylvania.
The hive as learning environment• Queens-leaders of an online discussion who produce a product or joint assignment• Workers – gather and contribute knowledge to the discussion• Drones – are largely absent from the discussion although occasionally provide a new idea often late in the day• Is this just and fair? Hughes, G. (2011) Queen bees, workers and drones: gender performance in virtual learning groups. In Kirkup, G. (Ed) Gender issues in learning and working with IT IGI Global, Pennsylvania.
To modify the hive behaviour• Compulsory contribution-all are workers or queensHowever from a care perspective:• Students may have good reasons not to participate: busy lives, illness, feel excluded by others, arrived late to the discussion, do not know what is going on etc.
• “There was a „sell by date‟ to the contributions … As much as I appreciated I could go to the discussion board at any time, it appeared late entrants rarely got any feedback…”
Ethical dilemmas1. Should we insist on e-learning?2. Tell students their chances of success - or not?3. Is compulsory participation in online discussions necessary to prevent some learners depending on others to do all the work, or is it unfair on those who cannot easily take part? Members of the jury - you decide….
HOW GOOD ARE YOUR CHANCES OF PASSING? Initial Score : 60points1.Are you male or female? Revised Score: pointsMale : Subtract 5 Female: No change2. How old are you? Revised Score: pointsUnder 30 : Subtract 13Age 30 or above : No change3. What level is this course? Revised Score: pointsLevel 1: Add 23 Level 2 : Add 11Other: No change4. What Faculty is this course? Revised Score: points A : Add 16 D or L: Add 8 E or K: Add 7 M : Add 6 S : Subtract 3 T : Add 1 Other: No change
5. What is the credit rating of this course? Revised Score: points15pts : Subtract 23 30pts : Subtract 960pts : No change6. How many courses are you taking in total Revised Score: pointsthis year?1 course : Add 5 2 or more : No change7. What are your current highest educational Revised Score: pointsqualifications?Degree or equivalent : Add 17A-level or equivalent : Add 12O level, GCSE or equivalent : No changeNone to CSE : Subtract 2 Other : No change8. How would you classify your occupation? Revised Score: pointsWorking- professional occupation : Add 10Working- other occupation : Add 5Not working or other: No change FINAL SCORE pts
How did you score?• 100 or above: (70%+ chance of success) The outlook is very bright for you. You‟ll undoubtedly have your share of challenges but you should be able to get things off to a good start.• 75 to 99: (50-60% chance of success) This will be a challenge you‟ve taken on and it will be useful to see if you can increase your point score in some way. For example do think about changing to a lower level course just for the first year – you can step up the pace later on. If you are taking more than one course then again do think of switching to just one.• Under 75: (50% or lower chance of success) You‟ll still be able succeed but if you can increase your score that would really improve your chances. You may not want to change sex (!) but you could change your course, increase your current educational qualifications by taking a short course of some kind – the „Openings‟ courses are ideal – and so on.