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A Very Big Adventure Using the internet to enable multi- institutional collaboration in teaching computer ethics Joe Griffin, Dept of CSIS.

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Presentation on theme: "A Very Big Adventure Using the internet to enable multi- institutional collaboration in teaching computer ethics Joe Griffin, Dept of CSIS."— Presentation transcript:


2 A Very Big Adventure Using the internet to enable multi- institutional collaboration in teaching computer ethics Joe Griffin, Dept of CSIS

3 Overview Research questions Subject domain Multi-institutional approach Collaborative Learning Objectively measuring results How LMS was used Results Future research

4 Some fundamental questions How do you motivate students? How do you make learning a very big adventure? What happens when students collaborate? How do you stop free riding? How do you measure learning?

5 PISE Professional Issues in Software Engineering The legal, ethical and social consequences of the design, development and use of computer systems Objective: To encourage students to develop the ethical foundations of good professional practice in computing A major theme is the relationship between ethics and the legal and social consequences of being a computer professional

6 Multi-institutional approach This study focuses on the use of collaborative learning involving students from three institutions University of Limerick, Ireland Sacred Heart University, USA de Montfort University, England Courses had similar focus Pedagogical approach was teaching and learning collaboratively in groups

7 Why Collaborative Learning? Collaboration with other students has been shown to stimulate activity, make learning more realistic and to stimulate motivation Research has also shown that moral dilemmas in computer ethics encourage group discussion Teamwork encourages social facilitation, better learning and higher cognitive skills Groups can produce better solutions to moral and ethical problems than individuals Collaborative learning supported by instructional technology can lead to deeper understanding and new knowledge creation

8 Problems with Collaborative Learning A major problem with the use of group- based approaches is individual assessment Free-Riding: some individuals gain more (in terms of grades) than they have put into the process (this grows more problematic with larger groups) Domination by the stronger students

9 Measuring learning Do traditional assessment tasks actually measure moral reasoning ability? Alternative is a method based on Kohlbergs Stage Theory of Moral Development Developed from Piagets work – 2 stage model Moral Judgment Test (MJT) - Lind 1984 - 2004

10 Kohlbergs 6 stage model LEVELSTAGESOCIAL ORIENTATIONDESCRIPTION Pre-conventional 1 Obedience and punishmentFear of punishment 2 Individualism & ExchangeReturning favours Conventional3 Good interpersonal relationshipsPutting yourself in other's shoes 4 Social OrderAvoiding societal breakdown Post-conventional5 Social contract & individual rightsObeying the law and upholding rights such as liberty and life 6 Universal PrinciplesGuided by principles of justice, human rights and human dignity

11 Kohlbergs definition of moral judgement Moral Ideals (motives, principles, attitudes) Moral Reasoning Competence Moral Action Affective, cognitive and behavioural domains

12 MJT- an adequate moral reasoning measurement tool ? the ability to measure both the cognitive and affective aspects or moral behaviour the inclusion of a moral task non-fakeability (i.e. subjects should not be able to get scores higher than their moral reasoning competency) sensitivity to change, measure the subject's own moral principles rather than imposing external moral expectations equivalence of both pro and con arguments in terms of Kohlberg's six stages.

13 Collaborative Tools on Blackboard Discussion Board:Asynchronous Send Email:Asynchronous File Exchange:Asynchronous Virtual Chat:Synchronous

14 Blackboard use Management - self-organisation students into groups, selection of topics, tutorial times and presentation times Accessing learning materials and external links Communication lecturer to student student to lecturer student to student Intra-group collaboration using self-regulated discussion groups

15 The study 2 cycles over 2 academic years Equal numbers from each university Groups selected a scenario Worked together in virtual learning groups to solve moral dilemma Used MJT to objectively measure any changes in moral reasoning Only compared MJT scores from UL students to account for differences in teaching input Hypothesised that higher C index (of >5) would be achieved by international group members

16 Results - 1st study No significant differences Possible reasons: the asynchronous nature of the tool lack of organization skills of students lack of roles within the group importance allowing virtual groups to self organise (setting own deadlines and milestones) needed more time to get to know each other, to articulate their strengths and weaknesses the nature of the moral dilemmas test fatigue

17 Results - 2nd study

18 Conclusion there was a greater improvement in moral reasoning development as measured by the MJT when learners participate in collaborative virtual learning groups when compared with the results achieved by learners in single institution groups there was a greater measure of improvement for female students than for male students care needs to be taken in establishing and sustaining virtual learning groups.

19 Future Research Switching to Moodle Identifying appropriate case studies Introducing multi-cultural perspective

20 Contact details Joe Griffin Department of Computer Science and Information systems University of Limerick Limerick Ireland Email:

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