Online disinhibition and the ethics of researching groups on Facebook

Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, Apr 23, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It's worth noting that the research we've conducted over the last half-dozen years on MOOCs and personal learning was conducted according to strict ethical guidelines, including informed consent to participate in research. A lot of current research on MOOCs and social networks conform to no such conditions. And, as Graham Attwell notes, the impact of this is magnified when we consider the online disinhibition effect, which is essentially the fact that people will say a lot more online than they would in person, created by (for example) "a feeling that online communication is taking place in one’s head, again leading to disinhibition." Image: Alanna Dunbar.

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