A fusion of mobile technology and Second Life in a learning environment to support the transition from school to university

0317 ALT-C 2009 J Magill, E Magill, B Canavan, A Devlin, M Pomerantz, J Trinder

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The Cloudworks Team
27 August 2009

ALT-C 2009 Session: This Cloud has been set up to aggregate live blogs, comments, discussion and links for this session.

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Summary of discussion so far...

  • What are the ethical implications of working with informal communities in popular digital technologies?
  • What ethical guidelines are there?
  • Methodological issues of researching informal spaces
  • Will the research cause harm or stress? Mismatch between practices in informal spaces and requirements/guidelines from university ethics boards
  • Philosophical issue - the ways people use these technologies is symptomatic of an increasing postmodernity and so theorising about postmodern ethics connects to the practicalities of popular online ethics

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Gráinne Conole
10:56 on 13 September 2009 (Edited 10:18 on 7 December 2009)

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John Traxler
9:16am 13 September 2009


keen to tease out ethical implications of working with informal communities in popular digital technologies - john traxler

Gráinne Conole
9:25am 13 September 2009 (Edited 10:18am 7 December 2009)


Yes good point John - I think this area is potentially a minefield! I wonder what ethical guidelines there already are for this? Reseaching in these kinds of areas also raises methodological issues - the whole point is to observe practices "in situ", any perturbation of the situation (including getting consent to participate in the research!) will spoilt it....

John Traxler
9:40am 13 September 2009


my concern is that the bottom line is 'will our research cause harm or distress?' - popular technologies like FB, SMS, SL etc etc already have communities each with their own (transient, local, fragmented) values, attitudes and expectations about what constitutes harm, distres, embarassment (that might be very different from university ethics boards)

John Traxler
9:46am 13 September 2009


yes it may be a methodological issue since researchers need to be  trustworthy and seen as such;

Rebecca Ferguson
9:58am 13 September 2009 (Edited 10:20am 7 December 2009)


We did some work in this area

Sheehy, K., Ferguson, R., & Clough, G. (2007). Learning and teaching in the panopticon: ethical and social issues in creating a virtual educational environment. International Journal of Social Sciences, 2(2), 89-96.

http://www.waset.org/journals/ijss/v2/v2-2-13.pdf

John Traxler
9:59am 13 September 2009


also a philosophical issue - there is an argument that the ways people use these technologies is symptomatic of an increasing postmodernity and so theorising about postmodern ethics connects to the practicalities of popular online ethics (in the sense I'm trying to use the phrase)

John Traxler
10:02am 13 September 2009


thanks Rebecca - tho my point was more to do with intruding into other people's (non-educational) environments than ones we've created - will download the paper

John Traxler
10:11am 13 September 2009


is there a way to connect this thread back to my earlier cloud?

Frances Bell
10:23am 13 September 2009 (Edited 10:19am 7 December 2009)


This is always a good place to start http://aoir.org/ 

My view is that some of the practices that brought us interesting research findings on MUDs and MOOs , etc. would not be acceptable now.  We have to learn to operate in a changing context that includes Uni ethics committees which can themselves adapt through engagement with researchers.  We can address their fear and moral panics by explaining clearly what we are doing and why.

There methodological and dissemination issues too - e.g. there is no such thing as an anonymous quote from the Internet;)

Rebecca Ferguson
10:33am 13 September 2009


I've added both to a cloudscape about the research ethics of e-learning.

Gráinne Conole
10:48am 13 September 2009


Thanks for the reference Rebecca - looks really interesting - have added as an academic reference and a link above.

Gráinne Conole
10:51am 13 September 2009


John - re: conect back now, the discussions are designed to be linear - bit like a blog or twitter . If you want to connect to a cloud then hyperlink to its URL.

Gráinne Conole
10:59am 13 September 2009


Great link Frances thanks! And I agree that past practices would not pass today's scrutnity. Which makes me also wonder whether current university ethics boards have the knowledge and understanding of cyperspace to be able to make appropriate judgments about ethical practices?

John Traxler
11:17am 13 September 2009


had intersting reaction from my own ethics board - are these just the same old questions (covert ethnography, informed consent, data protection etc etc)  - part of my answer would be 'if this is just dumb inert technology then 'yes'; on the other hand, if this is symptomatic of postmodernity (or whatever) then 'no'

John Traxler
11:49am 13 September 2009


my ALT paper this year http://repository.alt.ac.uk/643/

could be read as descriptive of the sorts of social changes (and ethical changes)  in question

 

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