About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6318-6325
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO KNOWLEDGE BUILDING IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS

C. Deed1, A. Edwards2

1La Trobe University (AUSTRALIA)
2Liverpool Hope University (UNITED KINGDOM)
The higher education experience has always included rigorous and reasoned dialogue. Technologically mediated communication has challenged the traditionally hierarchical nature of knowledge building through sharing, exploration, critique and defensible reasoning. This has raised sociological issues associated with collective or distributed intelligence, around the production, consumption and ownership of information, the public nature of individual thinking processes, and potential clashes of different cultural and ethical perspectives as part of the collaborative process. This conceptual paper identifies potential ethical issues and questions that emerge from higher education students working in collaborative virtual environments. Ethics are a set of commonly agreed principles and related actions specific to a defined context. While, for example, there are well accepted ethical frameworks related to plagiarism in academic contexts; there is less certainty about ethical actions related to idea sharing and remixing within less formal virtual social learning environments. Ethical dilemmas emerge from the relative understanding ascribed by individuals to the nature of public online interaction. Ethical dilemmas are identified in relation to interconnection: accessibility, public conversation, and risk taking; content creation: privacy and consent, vulnerability of naïve individuals, and ownership of socially generated data; and interactivity: clarity of purpose, effortful collaboration, and engaging with diverse perspectives and experiences. Each dilemma is examined in relation to questions emerging from the dual complexity of collaborative activity in online learning spaces, and the dynamic plurality of imagining ethical responses to new experiences created through affordances of technologized communication. Some of the key questions relate to the differences between formal offline academic writing and online public drafting of ideas; the public and archaeological nature of online social interaction; and the intent and effort of individuals engaging in developing knowledge and communities of practice. Each question is addressed through identification of possible ethical actions and strategies to contribute to the design of effective contemporary learning spaces. Examples of actions include awareness that knowledge is a social commodity, participant privacy expectations when using online social interactions as source material, and intentionally using multi-modal representation and communication of ideas to overcome language barriers. It is also important to recognise the different perspectives and intentions of individuals and groups in sharing and building knowledge; this has implications for the strategic orientation of individuals taking part in academic and social conversations in virtual learning spaces. Our argument is that educators need to consider the ethical implications of applying traditional academic knowledge building conventions in collaborative virtual environments.
@InProceedings{DEED2012ETH,
author = {Deed, C. and Edwards, A.},
title = {ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO KNOWLEDGE BUILDING IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {6318-6325}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Deed AU - A. Edwards
TI - ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO KNOWLEDGE BUILDING IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 6318
EP - 6325
ER -
C. Deed, A. Edwards (2012) ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO KNOWLEDGE BUILDING IN COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 6318-6325.
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