Ethical Issues with Distance Learning
I. Overview of Distance Learning
II. Seven Principles of Distance Education
a. Student and faculty contact
b. Student cooperation
c. Learning techniques
e. Labor management
g. Student support
IV. Ethical concerns
†††† Advancements in technology have thrown distance learning into a totally new arena and brought with it a new educational technique.† The student body, as well as administrators is running to the chance of being able to expand their knowledge through the opportunities distance learning can offer.† With this excitement though comes the intense task of developing a distance learning program that is attractive to the educators as well as the student body.† †Items that need to be evaluated by both entities include such things as accreditation, established professors, credit transferability, and online services and above all cost factors.†
†††† Chickering and Gamsonís Seven Principles for good teaching practice are a vital necessity in establishing a distance technology program.† Under this ideology there are high expectations of both parties in which demands of the professors are met with equal demands of the students.† †The Seven Principles that need to be addressed are:†
1. encourage contacts between students and faculty,
2. develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
3. use active learning techniques
4. give prompt feedback
5. emphasize time on task
6. communicate high expectation, and
7. respect diverse talents and ways of learning.
†††† Contact between students and faculty is a core necessity to make a distance learning program work.†† Students who have taken distance learning programs have found that communication between students and professors is much more frequent, is much more open and more accessible than is the case with regular classroom type scenarios.† An institution that is looking to implement distance learning as one of their future programs needs to develop this type of communication.
†††† One of the principles that contribute to the success of the distance learning program is the first which requires clear guidelines for interaction between the students and faculty.† Instructors are to be accessible through on-line devices such as email and bulletin boards.† Timelines for response are also set to avoid the feeling of being ignored from the student.
††† The second principle creates a sense of cooperation between the students.† Small discussion forums are appointed for certain times of discussion, depending on location.† In these sessions, students discuss class topics and are evaluated on their participation and ability to come to a final product.† These discussions are directed by expectorations posted by the instructor.
††† †The third principle allows for a student to have a class project scenario.† In this system, a student will individually do a product and post it on the class site.† His/her peers are then able to evaluate each of the worth by posting a response to it.
† †††The fourth principle addresses what seems to be the biggest problem in having a distance learning program.† How does the student get a direct response from his/her professor?† Well, this principle sets up two possibilities.† The first of these is information feedback in which the student has questions answered and assignments and grades given.†