Instructor’s Privacy in Distance (Online) Teaching: Where do you draw the line?

July 27, 2008

The exponential growth of distance learning provision in the past forty years poses pertinent and critical ethical issues. Students participating in distance education via an online course are required to recognize and resolve various ethical issues, some of which focus on the instructor’s actions. The university, too, as it supports students and instructors, is ethically involved in the process. As the number of online classes continues to grow, an increasing number of articles are being written about student and program integrity but there is a notable absence of articles or research focusing on the emerging issue of institutional integrity in relation to instructors. The ideology of New DEEL’s (Democratic Ethical Educational Leadership) speaks to the ethical basis of online teaching and this paper delineates an authentic ethical dilemma for which a universalized and generalized ethical model is proposed to be usefully applied to all issues involving privacy of participants.

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