Ethical dimensions of digital scholarship - Martin Weller

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Presentation given at the HEA Social Sciences learning and teaching summit 'Teaching ethics: The ethics of teaching'

A blog post outlining the issues discussed at the summit is available via http://bit.ly/1lndTnX

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Ethical dimensions of digital scholarship - Martin Weller

  1. 1. Teaching Ethics: A digital scholarship perspective Martin Weller
  2. 2. Overview • Open scholarship • Ethical perspective • Ethics of obligation vs risks • How open for students • Open Access/Open data • OERs • New skills • Learning analytics • Conclusions
  3. 3. The Digital Scholar book Bloomsburyacademic.com
  4. 4. Open scholarship Weller (2011) open scholars are likely to: • Have a distributed online identity • Have a central place for their identity • Have cultivated an online network of peers • Have developed a personal learning environment from a range of tools • Engage with open publishing • Create a range of informal outputs • Try new technologies • Mix personal and professional outputs • Use new technologies to support teaching and research • Automatically create and share outputs
  5. 5. By psd http://www.flickr.com/photos/psd/3717444865/ Openness is an efficient approach Benefits in terms of: Reuse Cost saving Marketing Recruitment Public engagement Focus on ethical side
  6. 6. What is teaching? • Partly enculturation • What if that culture has changed or is less valid?
  7. 7. Competing set of ethical considerations • We should be equipping students with skills and approaches that will be relevant Learning is a vulnerable process & risks associated
  8. 8. • Phonar • DS106 • Rhizo14 • Good community • Open approach is at heart
  9. 9. H817Open • Create own blog • Aggregate together • Some did behind password • Others felt excluded • Forcing people into open
  10. 10. Open Access • Anything paid for by Govt funding should be freely available • But what about things paid for by student fees? • “Publishing science behind paywalls is immoral” (Mike Taylor)
  11. 11. Open data • G8 treaty on open data - all government data will be released openly by default • Mandates that put data with publications • But what about ‘human’ data? • Deanonymising data is not difficult • Date of birth, gender & zip code is unique for 87% of the population • Ohm: ‘Data can be either useful or perfectly anonymous but never both.’
  12. 12. OERs • Is there an ethical compulsion to release teaching content? • Is it unethical not to expose your students to the best content?
  13. 13. Developing appropriate skills • Networker • Digital identity • Engaging with the open net • Are the academic skills we teach still relevant?
  14. 14. Should we be teaching our students the art of guerrilla research? http://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/ 5981013497/
  15. 15. “what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone. The real story is not the invention. It is the platform that makes the invention sing.” (Larry Lessig)
  16. 16. The manifesto 1. It can be done by one or two researchers and does not require a team 2. It relies on existing open data, information and tools 3. It is fairly quick to realise 4. It is disseminated via blogs and social media 5. It doesn’t require permission
  17. 17. More ethical? 12 days for a conventional proposal was the average (RCUK 2006) ESRC - only 17% of bids were successful in 2009-10 RCUK = 2006 £196 million on applications to the 8 UK research councils 2800 bids submitted to ESRC in 2009-10, an increase in 33% from 2005-6 ESRC - 2000 failed bids x 12 days per bid = 65 years of effort
  18. 18. Learning analytics • Can be powerful tool to support students • Ethical element of gathering data • Predictive analytics – should we encourage/discourage people who have little chance of success?
  19. 19. James Boyle: “We are very good at seeing the downsides and the dangers of open systems, open production systems, networks of openness. .. Those dangers are real… we are not so good at seeing the benefits and the converse holds true for the closed system.”
  20. 20. Conclusions • New tools & approaches offer new possibilities • Openness is key to many of these • But bring new ethical considerations • Ethics in NOT adopting as well as adopting

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