A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education

Robert Farrow, Open Praxis, May 29, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"This paper proposes a framework that focuses on the ethical significance of a particular group of educational technologies usually referred to as open education," writes Robert Farrow, noting " is “a paucity of literature” addressing the socioethical dimensions" and the suggestion that while open learning such as MOOCs is intended to extend access to learning, it tends to support the already privileged. There is also the sense in open education can be seen in the sense of non-sanctioned experimentation on human subjects, especially as " research activities are increasingly taking place outside institutions using open, publicly available data and technologies to collect and analyze data as well as disseminate findings," a practice known as "guerrilla research". The framework itself considers these questions from the perspective of three ethical views: the deontic (duty-based), consequentialist (or pragmatic), or virtue and character based theories. I think it's a bit light, but overall the subject is given a decent treatment. 17 page PDF

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