Digital Ethics in a Post-Truth Society
Concurrent Session 1
This panel will explore innovative learner-centered approaches to teaching digital ethics in a post-truth society. Panelists will address ethical considerations inherent in digital learning environments, tools, and applications. We’ll discuss implications for learning analytics, share strategies and assignments, and invite audience input using polls, survey questions, and Q & A.
This panel will explore innovative learner-centered approaches to teaching digital ethics in a post-truth society. Today’s digital and social media environments often focus on the convenience of tools and resources to connect individuals and communities without defining a clear and collective sense of digital ethics. We have also seen the proliferation of false and misleading information that has been easily created and shared through circuitous social media. The democratization of technologies to create and facilitate these spaces has been empowering for millions of users but has also disrupted traditional editorial filters to keep dubious information in check and to prevent bad actors from manipulating the openness of the systems. In addition, proprietary interests have stolen personal data from unsuspecting users who only wanted to connect with family and friends while maintaining a social media presence. For instance, Cambridge Analytica used personal information from over 87 million Facebook users without their permission. This breach of trust reflected poorly on Facebook for allowing such a massive security violation to occur without preemptive safeguards in place or accountability. It also raises concerns among many social media participants about the security of their information in these proprietary spaces.
Interestingly, Wikipedia has emerged as a mature and reliable source of information, created and edited by a dedicated community of users. Wikipedia was often perceived as an unreliable resource, but the community took responsibility for the space to fully realize the potential of this innovative format. How do we effectively leverage the collaborative dimension of social technologies, such as wikis and other participatory environments, while developing innovative practices and policies that incorporate community based checks and balances for trusted information?
The challenges of the post-truth society require a strong commitment to digital ethics and digital learning theories and strategies to promote digital citizenship. As part of this exploration, panelists will address the ethical considerations inherent in digital learning environments, while introducing effective digital learning tools, and applications. The discussion will move beyond well-known social media resources to also consider openly available and openly licensed tools to support digital ethics education and lifelong learning. During this interactive presentation, we’ll discuss implications for learning analytics, share strategies and assignments, and invite audience input using polls, survey questions, and Q & A. The panel will introduce a small set of case studies for participants to consider as part of the poll/survey response.
We’ll also address international issues in digital learning and ethics. In today’s social and learning contexts there are absences, both physical and virtual, that require filling in the gaps heightened by radical changes in peer relations. Deepening concepts such as digital ethics, mediated communication for technologies, and effective practices in e-learning is essential. In Italy, as in most of the EU, educators create alliances for distance education and recognize the necessity to promote digital learning standards and related knowledge areas.
Examples highlighted will include the online course Digital Storytelling, taught by two of the panelists, which encourages learners to identify and use emerging technologies for the production of empowering digital narratives. Another graduate level course, Issues and Ethics in the Digital Age, has used an ethical framework put forward by California's Markkula Center to encourage deeper thinking about one's personal decision-making and responsibilities towards others when using or interacting with various digital technologies. The M. A. in Learning and Emerging Technologies Advanced Design Seminar requires students to address ethical considerations specific to their design of learning environments and activities. Beyond credit bearing online courses, the on-demand Coursera MOOC entitled Metaliteracy: Empowering Yourself in a Connected World features several modules on becoming a digital citizen, including the ethical use of information. This MOOC applies the metaliteracy goals and learning objectives and prepares metaliterate learners to be active participants in social media as metacognitive consumers and producers of information in multiple forms.
We’ll explore emergent pedagogical frameworks for literacy and learning, including metaliteracy, an empowering framework that promotes metacognitive thinking and self-regulation in participatory environments often mediated by social technologies. The panel will introduce the revised metaliteracy goals and learning objectives that have been redefined to address digital learning in a post-truth society: https://metaliteracy.org/learning-objectives/
Digital ethics, issues and related considerations are rising to the forefront in a post-truth society. Discussion questions introduced by the panel include:
1. What ethical concerns arise with the use of digital learning environments and tools?
2. What is the responsibility of the educator in choosing digital and social tools for learning? What are the learner’s ethical responsibilities? What are the institution’s responsibilities?
3. What are the ethical implications of learning analytics?
4. What frameworks might be used to educate teachers and learners about ethical practices in learning environments?
5. What strategies are effective in addressing the ethical considerations arising with the adoption of digital and social media tools for learning?
Coursera MOOC Metaliteracy: Empowering Yourself in a Connected World https://www.coursera.org/learn/metaliteracy
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Kang, Cecilia and Sheera Frenkel. 2018. “Facebook Says Cambridge Analytica Harvested Data of Up to 87 Million Users” New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2EjnUyB
Mackey, Thomas P. and Trudi E. Jacobson. 2011. Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries, (January): 62-78.
Mackey, Thomas P. and Trudi E. Jacobson. 2014. Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. Chicago: ALA/Neal-Schuman Publishing.