Technoethical Study of Electronic Technology Ab/Use at University

Technoethical Study of Electronic Technology Ab/Use at University

Rocci Luppicini (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-869-2.ch007
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This case explores how university students view non-work related use of electronic technology within universities (I.e., electronic monitoring technology and personal use of electronic technologies). Of particular interest are student experiences and ethical stances concerning non-work related use of electronic technologies within universities as well as the variables that affect their decision to engage in or not engage in personal electronic technology use during class. To this end, a technoethical case study utilizes research literature and conversational data derived from online group work taken from a research course offered by the communication department of a large urban university. Findings indicate the presence of ethical tensions and contradictions in how students rationalize non-work related use of electronic technology within universities. This case study sheds light on student’s attitudes, subjective norms, attributions of responsibility, and factors affecting students’ ethical stances towards non-work related technology use at university. It also offers recommendations on how to leverage mutual understanding and consensual decision-making in similar contexts where ethical and social controversies arise, surrounding technology and its use in society.
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Setting The Stage

What is Technoethics? In referring to the recent Handbook of Research on Technoethics, Luppicini (2008) provides the following definition:

Technoethics is defined as an interdisciplinary field concerned with all ethical aspects of technology within a society shaped by technology. It deals with human processes and practices connected to technology which are becoming embedded within social, political, and moral spheres of life. It also examines social policies and interventions occurring in response to issues generated by technology development and use. This includes critical debates on the responsible use of technology for advancing human interests in society. To this end, it attempts to provide conceptual grounding to clarify the role of technology in relation to those affected by it and to help guide ethical problem-solving and decision making in areas of activity that rely on technology (p. 5).

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