Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Ethical debt and the great online pivot

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I'm going to juxtapose two posts here: one from the Christensen Institute titled Keep calm and carry on: Reasonable approaches to home-based learning, and the other from WonkHE called Ethical debt and the great online pivot. The former argues that "Vetoing all learning over equity concerns makes the perfect the enemy of the good." The latter says "The first consideration is that of social justice." The former says "It seems ironic, however, to say now that 'no one learns if not everyone can learn.'" The latters says, "we are also subjecting them to a programmed sociality predetermined by the platforms that they are using." I read Audrey Watters say "you might consider it 'just works' because it ignores all sorts of permissions and security features" and I think to myself, "oh sure, it was so much better when we used all those systems that didn't work."

People argue as though the ethics of all this is settled, but it isn't. I was in the middle of writing a very long paper about that when all of this hit, and I hope to finish it. We need to do better than sweeping declarations about what's good and what's bad in all of this. Social justice matters, but so does education. Privacy matters, but so does openness.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 18, 2024 12:02 p.m.

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