Lack of Ethics for eLearning: Two Sides of the Ethical Coin

Lack of Ethics for eLearning: Two Sides of the Ethical Coin

Deb Gearhart (E-Learning and Strategic Partnerships, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/jte.2012100103
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Abstract

Among the many concerns an eLearning program administrator faces, ethics for eLearning is among the top. Ethical concerns come from within the program and external to it. This article is a review of some of the ethical concerns facing eLearning administrators; looking at two sides of the ethical coin. The first side of the coin looks at internal ethical issues which has brought about concern for the quality of eLearning programs and has led to five new federal regulations facing IHE. The flip side of the coin looks at ethical concerns coming from outside the program by way of unethical behaviors from students and how eLearning program administrators can deal with these unethical practices.
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First Side Of The Coin

Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) have been working hard for over a year now to meet the state authorization rules. There are, however, a number of other federal regulations that affect eLearning and most IHE have not been paying close enough attention to these regulations and to their ramifications.

All involved with eLearning are familiar with the HEOA passed in 2008 and in particular to H.R.3746 Part H and S.1642 Part G—Program Integrity:

(ii) the agency or association requires that an institution that offers distance education programs to have processes by which it establishes that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates, completes academic work, and receives academic credit;

There are five other federal regulations over the past several years that eLearning program administrators need to pay careful attention to as some have come about from unethical practices in the field. The five include:

  • Definition of a “Credit Hour.”

  • Prohibition against “Incentive Compensation.”

  • Definition of “Misrepresentation.”

  • Clarification of “Last Day of Attendance.”

  • Definition of “Gainful Employment.”

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