About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2533-2542
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

CAN YOU DEVELOP VIRTUE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD? TEACHING ADVERTISING ETHICS IN SECOND LIFE

N. Alperstein

Loyola University in Maryland (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of this article is to explore a virtual learning environment intended to enhance an undergraduate course, a component of which focuses on advertising ethics. A Second Life Ethics Island was created to deliver both synchronous lectures and discussions as well as to offer individual and collaborative learning opportunities. This experiential approach to learning is a response to the dilemma presented through modes of teaching ethical theory, like presenting questionable advertisements in a free-flowing discussion format. Such traditional approaches do not ground students in ethical dilemmas they may confront in the real world, for example issues related to false and deceptive advertising or objectification of women, that provide students with a philosophical perspective necessary for articulating a clear ethical position that goes beyond the personal. Given the nature of today’s media savvy students, alternative teaching modalities that provide a more grounded experiential base are likely to lead to enhanced student learning of advertising ethics and the ability to apply broad ethical standards to advertising practices. The need to teach ethics in advertising is without question; what remains is how to best go about doing it. A university professor in charge of content creation and a technologist skilled in the construction of virtual environments jointly created the Second Life Ethics Island. Education in virtual worlds, like Second Life, is rooted in experiential learning theory: virtual worlds serving as conduits through which students travel from the insulated world of the classroom toward a hybrid that simulates the real, but is controlled by a constructed learning environment. Virtual world learning experiences, like those described here, fit squarely into Kolb’s four-stage experiential learning cycle: doing, observing, thinking, and planning. What is anticipated is a transformative experience that is based on the cyclical stages of this learning model through participation in the virtual learning environment. Such an experience is consistent with the expectations of digital natives who have become accustom to using technology in their everyday lives. In this pilot study participants were able to sequentially work through the four stages of the cycle—doing, observing, thinking and planning—as they confronted both positive and negative examples of advertising, which were intended to help them think through ethical issues and ultimately demonstrate new knowledge and understanding through a written assignment subsequently posted on line. An assessment of student participation in the Second Life Ethics Island was conducted, which indicates the experience was one they liked, and this finding is consistent with their liking of console games. However, as these students do not participate in other virtual worlds, like World of Warcraft, they were neutral regarding the use of computer games, not including Second Life, in college courses. The pilot study concludes that the current generation of college students is relatively unfamiliar with Second Life, and in that beyond a cursory awareness of Second Life they were unaware of the use of virtual worlds as learning environments for educational purposes.
@InProceedings{ALPERSTEIN2011CAN,
author = {Alperstein, N.},
title = {CAN YOU DEVELOP VIRTUE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD? TEACHING ADVERTISING ETHICS IN SECOND LIFE},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2533-2542}}
TY - CONF
AU - N. Alperstein
TI - CAN YOU DEVELOP VIRTUE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD? TEACHING ADVERTISING ETHICS IN SECOND LIFE
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 2533
EP - 2542
ER -
N. Alperstein (2011) CAN YOU DEVELOP VIRTUE IN A VIRTUAL WORLD? TEACHING ADVERTISING ETHICS IN SECOND LIFE, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 2533-2542.
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