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ERIC Number: EJ990496
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct-1
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Ethics Go Digital
Seager, Thomas P.; Selinger, Evan
Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 2012
To be truly innovative, digital pedagogy has to do a better job of giving students the very thing that makes brick-and-mortar schooling so special: It must foster immersive learning communities that connect students to both their instructors and each other. Fortunately, there are ways that online education can do just that, as the authors have learned while team-teaching an ethics course that blends traditional classroom activities with an unusual online component. This is the second year they will teach "Sustainability Ethics" at their respective colleges, Arizona State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology. In the course, students play interactive games that the authors developed to explore theoretic problems relating to important issues in sustainability. While the students participate in the usual learning activities like reading, discussion, and writing assignments, they experience ethical issues personally through the games, in which they have an opportunity to advance their own grades at the expense of classmates' grades. To complicate matters, each game randomly positions students at different levels of privilege, so it is more difficult for some students to earn grade points than others. Finally, the authors link their two classes (using EthicsCore, an information-technology platform supported by the National Science Foundation) so that decisions made by one class affect grades earned by the other, 2,300 miles away. Students deliberate across universities exclusively online, in discussion rooms and chat windows. The authors' experience has several implications for online education generally, and for ethics education in particular. A common complaint in online education is that students study in isolation from one another. However, when they are joined online in collaborative and deliberative tasks, a learning community can form that transcends geographical and temporal distances. That is what happened with their students. Both student groups were more engaged in the ethical issues they confronted online than they would have been using more conventional approaches. While the two groups never met in person, they felt bound to one another in ways they might not have otherwise. In the end, peace prevailed, and the Arizona State students sent photos and gifts to the Rochester group.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; New York