New structures (MOOCs) demand new ethics?

Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connetced, Mar 20, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Keith Hamon comments, ‘New structures demand new ethics’, and Jenny Mackness writes, "On reading this, I immediately wondered whether this is true." I personally don't think that new structures require new ethics per se but I could perhaps be persuaded that we need to frame them differently. I like this: "core values which have not altered in medicine are:

  • doing no harm (non-maleficence);
  • a wish to do good (beneficence);
  • the desire to be fair (justice),
  • and a respect for the individual (autonomy)."

In my mapping of MOOC 'values' I recommend 'autonomy, diversity, openness, and interactivity', basing them on the principles of successful networks (and hence, societies). This is a different set, and maybe I should be including some combination of non-maleficence, beneficence and justice into my values?

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