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Cyberethics and Policies for Technology Use

Cyberethics and Policies for Technology Use, Prof David Whittier, Ed D., email:  <dbwhittier@gmail.com>
Offered at the Boston University School of Education 2007-2014

The opportunities and obstacles Cyberspace presents to learning, teaching, and developing ethical behavior and the policies and processes that promote them are the focus of this course. Student work includes presentations, papers, discussions, and lesson plans with activities for teaching cyberethics.

Through in-class discussions and presentations, case study reports, written work, and lesson plans, students will demonstrate their understanding of:
•    The ethical challenges raised by the growth and use of the Internet.
•    The interactions between law, policy, technology, and cyberethics as they relate to the tension between the affordances of the Internet as opposed to various forces that act to control it.
•    The social and ethical implications of these issues for schools, teaching, and learning.
•    Common ethical frameworks used to analyze ethical problems.
•    How to help other teachers, professors, and learners learn about cyberethics.

Please note: Cyberethics may be offered in-person, online. or in a blended format. Regardless of the form, the seven major topics remain the same.

Day/Week                       Major Topic(s)

Day 1/Online week 1:       Ethical frameworks and the psychology of the Internet

Day 2/Online week 2:       Privacy and its ethical implications in cyberspace

Day 3/Online week 3:       Identity, truth, and trustworthiness in cyberspace

Day 4//Online week 4:     Internet Safety and Responsible Computing

Day 5/Online week 5:     Speech in cyberspace: Hate speech, mean speech, free speech, and rumor spreading; Responsible Computing

Day 6/Online week 6:     Hacking; Netiquette; Cybercitizenship

Day 7/Online week 7:     Ethical guidelines for teachers, students, and other educators.  Finding heroes to teach cyberethics.

Student comments on cyberethics:

Dear Prof. Whittier,

    It has indeed been a pleasure working  with you on this course and I feel one is fortunate to have had you guiding us. Your remark about education being the key to peace in the world is so true and relevant. Education is an amazing tool to help foster critical thinking and making informed decisions.

My perception of cyberspace has undergone a tremendous change and it is all in a positive direction. Patty Yamano's research and conclusion about 'teachers feeling more comfortable about their personal knowledge of Cyberethics rather than about their ability to teach it,' was a description of me when I started the course. As I went through the course and my knowledge of cyberethics expanded I felt better equipped to teach the concepts.

It was one of the reasons why I decided to do a lesson plan for my 6th assignment as I felt so much more confident about planning a lesson as I had a better understanding of teaching cyberethics. Going forward it will be much easier for me to weave cyberethics into our day to day instruction where technology plays such an important part of our teaching learning cycle.

Thank you for all your guidance, help and continuous support in this journey of learning. I have had many moments of fear, (wondering if I would ever be able to complete the course due to the shaky start) angst and challenges during this journey. However, as the end of the course draws near I realize it has been a journey that was well worth it, every piece of reading, every assignment and every bit of feedback and reflection.


To request a copy of the Journal of Education special issue on cyberethics contact:

Journal of Education
Boston University
School of Education
Two Silber Way
Boston, Massachusetts  02215
Phone: 617-353-3230
Fax: 617-353-3924
E-mail: bujed@bu.edu

For further information, contact Prof Whittier at dbwhittier@gmail.com