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Issue No 014

Vol. 14 - Decemebr 2010
Teaching Information Ethics

 "Practice what you preach!" is a simple but nevertheless reasonable moral imperative. Usually it is compliance that we struggle with in this regard and not the reasoning. As far as our current issue is concerned it is now quite opposite. Most of us - the readers, editors, authors, contributors - practice the teaching of Information Ethics - mainly professionally. And now we asked (them) to raise this as an issue, to reflect one's own practice, to preach of what one is doing in his daily business. And all of a sudden the reasoning became difficult: thus this time we weren't really flooded with articles in response of our call for papers.

"Finally!" one should like to say. It is indeed a good sign that we did not break a dam with our call in this particular case. The practice of teaching Information Ethics seems to become a matter of course. Information Ethics is about to arrive! It is on the verge of becoming an inherent part of academic curricula. And the scholars already professionally blinkered? Could this be a reason for the lower amount of contributions this time? Not quite, not yet! It is (still) probably more a matter of self-confidence than of the blindness for one's own routines: the self-confidence that is necessary (especially in the beginnings) to understand oneself as a coherent group in teaching Information Ethics - despite the differences in culture, fields of research or target audiences. In fact, disciplines as diverse as computer science to business to library science and communications, now offer courses in Information Ethics at the higher education level. Increasingly, too, it is common for Information Ethics to be taught at school - even to primary school students, as in Seoul, Korea´s "netiquette program." Yes, it does need some self-confidence to proudly report on the tops and flops of one's own field, where one succeeded and where the areas of improvement are compared with such a variety of peers and colleagues.

In fact, Information Ethics itself as a discipline has gone through such a development - and very quickly so. It started with concerning (mainly) the Internet (as cyberethics etc.) and was closely related to professionals (particularly computer professionals and LIS professionals). Very quickly it became clear that the issues raised in Information Ethics affect the society itself and cannot be restricted to issues of professional ethics (any-more). It finally became evident since the Internet itself developed from a technology and professional tool into a social space itself. Thus, more and more not the core and inherent questions of Information Ethics like freedom of speech, copyright, privacy etc. had to be dealt with in Information Ethics but the everyday life of people became the subject. That broadened the scope of "information" beyond the field of knowledge (its storage, transmission etc.) into other areas and disciplines so that IE became an interdisciplinary topic and - it goes without saying - an intercultural as well.

We do hope that this issue and the common quest on establishing, broadening and improving the teaching of Information Ethics all over the world will open the eyes and hearts of some readers, especially in in regions such as the Near East where the field is almost non-existent (as an academic field, but really existent as the potential object of such academic reflection).


the Editors.

Full Journal
pdf-fulltext (788 KB)

Introduction: Teaching Information Ethics
by Elizabeth A. Buchanan and Dennis Ocholla
Language: English
pdf-fulltext (152 KB)

Teaching Information Ethics in Higher Education: A Crash Course in Academic Labour
by Toni Samek
Language: English
abstract:   This article builds on several prior informal publications that delve into my experiences teaching a course on intellectual freedom and social responsibility in librarianship in the context of the North American library and information studies curriculum. Here, I extend those discussions into a deeper exploration of the academic labour that frames conditions for teaching information ethics. While the intellectual freedom and social responsibility in librarianship subject matter represents only one narrow slice of the bigger information ethics pie, the actual teaching of it sheds light on more universal instructor immersion in contestations over interna-tionalization of higher education, the contingent worker model, the meaning of global citizenship education and research, and academic freedom in the 21st century. This focused lens takes in how the working conditions of faculty are the learning conditions of students, as well as how some of the ill practices explored in information ethics (e.g., censorship) can also be apparent in the institutions in which it is taught. Thus, this article recognizes the political context of information ethics within the academy, a place undergoing redefinition in academic visions and plans designed to push faculty, staff and students harder in global competitions for university rankings.
pdf-fulltext (190 KB)

Teaching Information Ethics in an iSchool
by David J. Saab
Language: English
abstract:   The iSchool movement is an academic endeavor focusing on the information sciences and characterized by a number of features: concern with society-wide information problems, flexibility and adaptability of curricula, repositioning of research towards interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary exchange (Harmon, 2006). Teaching information ethics in an iSchool would seem to be a requisite for students who will have an enormous impact on the information technologies that increasingly permeate our lives. The case for studying ethics in a college of information science and technology, as opposed to the liberal arts and humanities, has been regarded only marginally, however. In this paper I explore how I developed and delivered an information ethics course, paying attention to student receptivity and learning, course structure and assignments, as well as its connection to the wider curriculum and its efficacy.
pdf-fulltext (253 KB)

Innovations and Challenges in Teaching Information Ethics Across Educational Contexts
by Michael Zimmer
Language: English
abstract:   Renewed attention to integrating information ethics within graduate library and information science (LIS) programs has forced LIS educators to ensure that future information professionals - and the users they interact with - participate appropriately and ethically in our contemporary information society. Along with focusing on graduate LIS curricula, information ethics must become infused in multiple and varied educational contexts, ranging from elementary and secondary education, technical degrees and undergraduate programs, public libraries, through popular media, and within the home.Teaching information ethics in these diverse settings and contexts brings numerous challenges and requires new understandings and innovative approaches. In keeping with the 2011 Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) conference theme of "Competitiveness and Innovation," a diverse panel of educators and researchers were convened to foster a discussion in how to best incorporate information ethics education across diverse contexts, and how to develop innovative educational methods to overcome the challenges these contexts inevitably present. This article reports on that panel discussion and offers recommendations towards achieving success in information ethics education.
pdf-fulltext (153 KB)

Teaching Information Ethics
by Miguel Angel Pérez Alvarez
Language: Spanish
abstract:   The emergence of social networking is closely related with the new technologies improving user interface experience thus making the interaction between users more natural and intuitive. Before, the first online communities of interest were user lists and asynchronous discussion groups resembling more the form of mass mailings than informal discussions in a cafe or in a classroom. The impact of web 2.0 on scientific practices has become evident in establishing more and more epistemic communities as virtual communities and vice versa. With respect to the role of the paradigm in the constitution and operations of an epistemic community, the framework of values and the ethical reflection of that become its own form of binding and guiding principle of the theoretical action. Thus any individual who joins an online community with the ambition of an epistemic effect must develop the morals and ethics necessary to enable him/her to understand the relevant forms of their theoretical practice.
pdf-fulltext (178 KB)

A Framework for Integrating Information Ethics (IE) in the Curricula for Africa
by Stephen M. Mutula
Language: English
abstract:   The debate about embedding information ethics (IE) in the curriculum in Africa is gaining momentum as scholars from developed and developing world engage on the subject. Some research publications are starting to emerge on information ethics in Africa but so far they have been confined to addressing the extent to which information ethics is necessary, who should offer information ethics and why, who should be taught and at what levels, the duration of offering the course/program and the content that should be included in the curriculum. Little attention has been placed on the theoretical framework that should underpin IE curriculum for Africa as well as the sources of IE content for the curriculum. This paper therefore addresses the following issues: rationale for integrating information ethics in the curricula in Africa; theoretical and institutional framework for IE curriculum; potential sources of content for information ethics curricula, challenges of integrating information ethics into the curricula in Africa and prospects for integrating IE into the curricula in Africa.
pdf-fulltext (179 KB)

Reflections On 2011 ANIE Activities Towards Teaching Information Ethics in Africa
by Coetzee Bester
Language: English
abstract:   This short report on the 2011 ANIE activities towards Teaching Information Ethics in Africa reflects the work that has been done by many dedicated academics and officials.
pdf-fulltext (180 KB)

Internet in Brazilian Public Schools: Policies beyond Politics
by Bernardo Sorj and Mauricio Lissovsky
Language: English
abstract:   This article examines the use of computers and the internet in Brazilien Public Schools. It observes the broad use of the new technologies and argues that the mainly political decision to do so must now be translated into responsible policies in both the use of resources and the goals they are meant to support, maximizing benefits and minimizing waste.
pdf-fulltext (180 KB)


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