The increased use of virtual learning environments (VLEs) in Higher Education is inextricably associated with the pressures of globalization. The pressures of international competition, supported by the widespread availability of online courses in which the traditional physical face-to-face contact between lecturers and students is not the predominant learning mode creates a dilemma for administrators. The distancing effect caused by the physical and temporal separation of lecturers and students creates an ethical problem in that the financial needs of corporations and institutions can be valorized at the expense of humanistic concerns such as interpersonal relationships and the contribution of such relationships to a harmonious society. A solution to this problem is proposed. This involves the active consideration of ethical concerns before any online course is offered. In addition, a four-step process is outlined in which the social and ethical effects of VLEs are considered. Such procedures and processes ask management and individual lecturers to consider the long-term effects of the tools and pedagogies used on society, in addition to the immediate objective such as students’ achievement of knowledge objectives or course completion.
|Keywords:||Globalization, ICT, Virtual Learning Environments, Ethics, Higher Education|
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
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