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Framework for an ethics of open education
Dr. Robert Farrow
Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University, UK
Framework for an ethics of open education
Dr. Robert Farrow
Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University, UK
@p...
What will this presentation cover?
The role of ethics in open education
Ethical problems and complexities related to open ...
“[T]he information society has been brought about
by the fastest growing technology in history […]
No previous generation ...
The open paradigm in education
Widespread recognition that the shift to digitized, online and freely accessible learning r...
Image:https://www.flickr.com/photos/lemasney/5211610431/
The ethics of open education
“When educational materials can be electronically copied and
transferred around the world at ...
Open education: the moral mission
Most people who advocate for open education believe it is the right thing to do
- Improv...
Open education: a force for
exclusion?
A review of 68 empirical studies, systematic reviews and reports on MOOC (Rolfe, 20...
A ‘deeper’ ethics of care?
As openness increasingly enters the mainstream there is concern that the more radical
ethical a...
Research beyond the institution
In open contexts, teaching and research are increasingly taking place outside institutions...
Research beyond the institution
http://www.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html
http://blog.ouseful.info/2009/04/02/visualising-mps-expenses-using-scatter-plots-charts-and-maps/
http://www.theguardia
n.com/news/datablog/
2009/apr/03/mps-
expenses-
houseofcommons
Coal Run (Ohio) Map Mashup
Mapping mash-up overlaid city
boundaries, water supply lines,
and house occupancy by race
Showe...
To find out whether the psychological states of its users
can be manipulated Facebook ran a study which involved
showing u...
Panama Papers!
Image: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/04/05/07/41/panama-1308874_960_720.jpg
The need for a framework
Though we have some expectations of behaviour, we aren’t yet at a point where we could
profession...
Constructing the framework
The study examines ethical guidance for research from the British Educational Research
Associat...
Principles of ethical intervention
Respect for participant autonomy (fair treatment; recognizes human dignity)
Avoid harm ...
Resources from philosophical ethics
Normative Theory Definition of ‘Good’ Focus
Deontological Fulfilment or discharge of m...
The framework
Evaluation: OER Research Hub
OER Research Hub was a Hewlett funded research project that ran from 2012-2015
Mixed methods ...
Project Co-PILOT
OER Evidence Report 2014
http://tinyurl.com/oe
revidence
Respect for autonomy
Avoid harm / minimize risk
Full disclosure
Privacy & Data Security
Integrity
Independence
Informed Consent
Conclusion
The framework is intended to complement existing institutional processes for ethical
approval
For ‘guerrilla’ r...
Farrow, R. (2016). A
Framework for the Ethics of
Open Education. Open Praxis,
8(2).
http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpr
axis....
• Research into open education and strategies for building worldwide open
education research capacity
• Available for rese...
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
Framework for an Ethics of Open Education
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Framework for an Ethics of Open Education

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A presentation on the role of ethics of open education from the Open Education Global 2016 conference held in Krakow, Poland. The full paper can be found in Open Praxis from May 2016 via http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.291

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Framework for an Ethics of Open Education

  1. 1. Framework for an ethics of open education Dr. Robert Farrow Institute of Educational Technology The Open University, UK
  2. 2. Framework for an ethics of open education Dr. Robert Farrow Institute of Educational Technology The Open University, UK @philosopher1978 @oer_hub
  3. 3. What will this presentation cover? The role of ethics in open education Ethical problems and complexities related to open educational practices The rationale for a flexible, reconstructive framework Framework design process Description of framework Evaluation through example
  4. 4. “[T]he information society has been brought about by the fastest growing technology in history […] No previous generation has ever been exposed to such an extraordinary acceleration of technical power over reality, with corresponding social changes and ethical responsibilities” Prof. Luciano Floridi (Philosopher of Technology)
  5. 5. The open paradigm in education Widespread recognition that the shift to digitized, online and freely accessible learning resources can bring profound ethical challenges A range of cultures, behaviours, practices and technologies from educational contexts may be described as ‘open’, including access to education or published research, policies, teaching methods, software, data sets and other educational resources. Over the last decade – primarily in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Open Educational Resources (OER) – the open education movement has expanded opportunities for education worldwide.
  6. 6. Image:https://www.flickr.com/photos/lemasney/5211610431/
  7. 7. The ethics of open education “When educational materials can be electronically copied and transferred around the world at almost no cost, we have a greater ethical obligation than ever before to increase the reach of opportunity. When people can connect with others nearby or in distant lands at almost no cost to ask questions, give answers, and exchange ideas, the moral imperative to meaningfully enable these opportunities weighs profoundly. We cannot in good conscience allow this poverty of educational opportunity to continue when educational provisions are so plentiful, and when their duplication and distribution costs so little.” (Caswell, Henson, Jensen & Wiley, 2008)
  8. 8. Open education: the moral mission Most people who advocate for open education believe it is the right thing to do - Improving access to education as a moral mission - Voluntarily investing time in promoting OER - For many practitioners the ethical dimensions of open education are crucial - Even if the goal is prudential/pragmatic (e.g. only to save institutional funds or improve grades) there remains a normative dimension Also grounded in international human rights legislation & agreements - Paris Declaration on OER (2012) - United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) - The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (United Nations, 1966)
  9. 9. Open education: a force for exclusion? A review of 68 empirical studies, systematic reviews and reports on MOOC (Rolfe, 2015) suggests there is “a paucity of literature” addressing the socio-ethical dimensions, noting that despite the rhetoric of improving access “we are at a point where social inclusion is polarised toward the more privileged” (Rolfe, 2015, p. 65). World Bank Report on Internet Access Worldwide Unequal access to communications technology, unequal distribution of basic study skills, and unavailability of resources in certain languages mean that open approaches can act as a force for exclusion rather than inclusion (Emmanuel, 2013; Laurillard, 2014; Perryman, 2013)
  10. 10. A ‘deeper’ ethics of care? As openness increasingly enters the mainstream there is concern that the more radical ethical aspirations of the open movement are becoming secondary. Wiley (2015) for instance argues for a ‘deeper’ understanding of open ethics as a form of being with an ethic of care and sharing rather than a set of duties (such as a requirement to use open licensing)
  11. 11. Research beyond the institution In open contexts, teaching and research are increasingly taking place outside institutions Novel use of open, publicly available datasets Application of new methods to legacy data Use of online mechanisms for dissemination (social media, etc.) Weller (2013) terms this ‘guerrilla research’ – no collection of primary data; further permissions are not required Examples include:
  12. 12. Research beyond the institution http://www.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html
  13. 13. http://blog.ouseful.info/2009/04/02/visualising-mps-expenses-using-scatter-plots-charts-and-maps/
  14. 14. http://www.theguardia n.com/news/datablog/ 2009/apr/03/mps- expenses- houseofcommons
  15. 15. Coal Run (Ohio) Map Mashup Mapping mash-up overlaid city boundaries, water supply lines, and house occupancy by race Showed almost all the white households in Coal Run have water service, while all but a few black homes do not $11m in damages from the city of Zanesville and Muskingum County (2008) http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/02/16/bittersweet-water.html
  16. 16. To find out whether the psychological states of its users can be manipulated Facebook ran a study which involved showing users either only ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ status updates and seeing whether this would affect their mood (it did). Expert opinion is divided over the acceptability of Facebook’s actions. • What are our expectations of use of online information? • Can we reasonably consent to our own harm? • What role is technology playing in the pedagogical situation; of what should we be aware? • Mirror with ethical responsibilities around distance learning Facebook: ‘Emotional Contagion’ Study
  17. 17. Panama Papers! Image: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/04/05/07/41/panama-1308874_960_720.jpg
  18. 18. The need for a framework Though we have some expectations of behaviour, we aren’t yet at a point where we could professionalize an ethics for open education Openness always increases complexity and reduces predictability It is not possible to prescribe guidance for the multitude of scenarios where openness might make an ethical difference We lack adequate terminology for describing and assessing the ethical significance of openness The framework is developed in order to facilitate identifying and reflecting on normative elements of open interventions in teaching and research
  19. 19. Constructing the framework The study examines ethical guidance for research from the British Educational Research Association (BERA), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); and the British Psychological Society (BPS) Not a systematic review & the choice of sources is somewhat arbitrary – although the full paper explains the genealogy (Nuremburg Code, Belmont Report) shared by other guidance (e.g. National Institutes of Health) Textual analysis identifies the following shared principles:
  20. 20. Principles of ethical intervention Respect for participant autonomy (fair treatment; recognizes human dignity) Avoid harm / minimize risk Full disclosure (interventions should be understood by those affected) Privacy & data security (respect for confidentiality) Integrity (meeting recognized professional standards) Independence (objectivity) Informed consent
  21. 21. Resources from philosophical ethics Normative Theory Definition of ‘Good’ Focus Deontological Fulfilment or discharge of moral obligations Responsibility, intention & duty Consequentialist Acting to promote best outcomes Consequences and outcomes Virtue Ethics Flourishing (eudemonia) Individual character and ‘well- being’ Developing practical wisdom (phronêsis)
  22. 22. The framework
  23. 23. Evaluation: OER Research Hub OER Research Hub was a Hewlett funded research project that ran from 2012-2015 Mixed methods qualitative & quantitative research Collaborative research model designed to test key hypotheses about OER impact Openness in practice: methods, data, dissemination
  24. 24. Project Co-PILOT
  25. 25. OER Evidence Report 2014 http://tinyurl.com/oe revidence
  26. 26. Respect for autonomy
  27. 27. Avoid harm / minimize risk
  28. 28. Full disclosure
  29. 29. Privacy & Data Security
  30. 30. Integrity
  31. 31. Independence
  32. 32. Informed Consent
  33. 33. Conclusion The framework is intended to complement existing institutional processes for ethical approval For ‘guerrilla’ researchers the framework can encourage focus on professional standards Even where institutional guidance is available it may not reflect what is possible with open technologies Ultimately, practitioners to continue to reflect on issues themselves and practice their own autonomy and phronêsis as researchers and educators.
  34. 34. Farrow, R. (2016). A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education. Open Praxis, 8(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpr axis.8.2.291
  35. 35. • Research into open education and strategies for building worldwide open education research capacity • Available for research & consultancy (short & long term) • Current projects include: oerhub.net

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