Ethics Module for Technology Applications in Education

by David Moore
© David Moore 2004
College of Education

Course overview

This course is a prerequisite for the Masters and Ph.D. program in Instructional Technology. The focus is to provide an overview of issues and concerns in the instructional technology field as well as provide basic foundational technology skills that will be leveraged as students progress through their course of study.

Topics include; computer components and functions, NETS standards, communications and networks, application software tools, hardware and systems, multimedia and instructional software, curriculum integration and evaluation, systems dynamics and security and ethics.

Module overview

This module will be implemented as an online replacement for a class that meets face-to-face and focuses on ethics and intellectual property in the classroom.

Learning outcomes

What will students be able to do?

- Students will be able to make legal and ethical decisions related to copyright, intellectual property in instructional environments.

- Students will be able generate, defend, and argue decisions they make concerning intellectual property using rhetorical principles and ethical theory.

- Students will be able to evaluate ethical dilemmas and provide rationales for their decisions.

- Students will be able to identify and evaluate ethical materials.

What will students need to know in able to do it?

- Identify and describe salient copyright laws and fair use provisions

- Identify and describe the indefinite nature of copyright law and fair use

- Students will be familiar with the 10 commandments of computer ethics for educators from the Computer Ethics Institute

The most important single variable in learning is what a student already knows.

Prior Knowledge Probe

This survey is completed online in the Blackboard CMS, individually by students. The results will be used to guide the discussion that follows. It is critical to ascertain what the students already know about this topic.

- List 5 ethical issues that concern educator’s use of computers.

- Explain why information privacy is of greater concern now than in the past.

- Define electronic profiling.

- Define copyright.

- What is fair use?

- What are the benefits and drawbacks of stringently respecting intellectual property from a teacher’s perspective, student’s perspective, institutional perspective, creator’s perspective?

Ethics case studies Commitment exercise

Case studies from will be presented online in the Blackboard CMS. Students will have to will have to answer T/F questions about whether the case represents copyright infringement or not. By committing to a position students are better prepared to participate in the ensuing discussion.

Ethics case studies discussion

Discussion is carried out over the Blackboard CMS system. Students must contribute 5 thoughtful postings.

Class encyclopedia

Students in class will be asked to create a class encyclopedia of copyright issues is education. This will be done using a Wiki system (open online forum where anyone can post and edit) comments).

Topics to be addressed:

Fair-use provisions

Intellectual property rights

Public domain


Cyber ethics

Consequential Ethics – and impact of copyright in the classroom

Deontological Ethics– and impact of copyright in the classroom

Argumentation – defending your intellectual property right decisions


Students will be asked to reflect on their online experience in a non-graded survey.

Follow-up Assessment

The following week students will be asked to review class Wiki page. Quiz items will be taken from the Wiki page?

Final Assessment

Questions based on this activity will be included in the final exam.

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