Students and Teachers as Ethical Actors

Authored by: Melody M. Thompson , Jonathan W. Wrigglesworth

Handbook of Distance Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415897648
eBook ISBN: 9780203803738
Adobe ISBN: 9781136635571


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Within the broad field of education, discussions of the moral nature of teaching and learning have developed through decades of reflection that in turn connect to centuries of earlier discourse on morality and ethics. The ideas and writings of early distance educators—those dedicated to broadening access to educational programming to unserved or underserved populations of adults—fit well within this discourse tradition. However, many current examples of distance education practice and literature seem less the natural outgrowth of a self-reflective educational enterprise than the off spring of a marriage between rapidly changing socio-economic conditions and institutional expediency. One result has been a lack of attention to ethical issues in the distance education literature. In 2001, the concept paper for the ICDE Special Presidential Session on Ethics in Distance Education and Open Learning stated, “A search of the literature, including documentation available on the World Wide Web, reveals little explicit concern with ethical questions among the community of professionals active in the area of distance education and open learning” (ICDE Dusseldorf 2001, “Full Abstract,” ¶ 6).

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