Yeah, Today I Drove Through the Suburbs… ‘Cause How Could I Ever Figure All These Issues Out?

Moral, Ethical & Legal Issues in Education

A Quick Overview of Last Week’s Class

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By golly Ms. Molly, we’ve almost made it! This past week we discussed many different moral, ethical, and legal issues in the world of education. Some of the topics we discussed were, but are not limited to: sites such as Coursehero and Chegg, Teacher’s Pay Teachers, sharing created and purchased materials, material ownership, copyright shakedowns, OER resources, terms of services, interacting with students and families on social media and more! It was quite an action-packed class, that’s for sure!

Digging Deeper into the Topic

Cymone’s post this week reminded me of an issue that I didn’t put much time into associating with this topic, but boy was it a good one. Check out her blog here, but one of the points she discussed was the issue of students, parents, families, etc. trying to add teachers on social media. Some teachers fall into the trap of adding students, which can be quite a big issue, depending on what is being posted and what information is being shared. But personally, I have to say that I don’t add kiddos on any social media platforms until they have graduated high school, and then still that’s an infrequent venture on my part. I am very cautious when it comes to social media, and I always tell my kiddos that we aren’t friends. We have different roles to play, and unfortunately for those that want to be my friend on social media or in person, I can’t fulfill that role.

Dylan speaks more about this topic with the article he presented this week, Beware: Be Aware—The Ethical Implications of Teachers Who Use Social Media Networking Sites to Communicate., which is definitely a must-read. Lovepreet also introduces us to an article, Ethics of Teaching with Social Media, which closely relates to the article mentioned previously. Closely related, Shirsty presented an article Tools for Teaching Cyber Ethics, which also discusses many of the issues presented above. Amanpreet also gave us a book to read, however, to be 100% honest, I didn’t read it, but I did read her blog post for this week that was very informative and I imagine a lot of content is from the book.

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To be totally transparent here, there are so many issues around legal, moral, and ethical issues in education that I could talk about but for so many reasons (including time) I just can’t get to them all. There are ones that I would love to talk about with someone off of the record too, so for now, those will have to stay off the ole computer. So hang in there, and try to understand where I am coming from for a couple of minutes while I rant about a few that I feel passionate enough about, but not too passionate that I may say something that I may regret one day.

My memory is really struggling these days, but I read a blog post this week from one of my peers in #eci832, Rae, who posed a question about Chegg and Coursehero type websites. The question reads:

If you are a middle years or high school teacher,
have platforms like these been a
challenge for you?

I was intrigued by this question and obviously had been thinking about it quite a bit since the last class. I can’t remember verbatim what I responded, however, what I know I talked about is that I have been teaching middle years students for my entire 12+ year career and have never had a problem with this type of site in my classroom. Do cheating and plagiarism exist? Of course, it does. But what I know for sure is that we need to start looking at our assessment practices in all grade levels, especially secondary and post-secondary schooling. Obviously, many people are opposed to this as it takes work, learning, and a whole lot of uncomfortable moments. However, we fear websites such as these arising and students using them, although if we changed up our teaching and assessment practices so that students applied their learning to different scenarios instead of regurgitating information, we wouldn’t need to fear sites such as these. Is there a time and a place for this type of learning? For sure. However, I think we could be doing a better job of fearing less about the latest sites, apps, and technology, rather focusing on what students are comprehending and how that learning is being applied. This is totally coming from someone that again has never taught in those learning environments, and only has been a student, however, I think that we could look at things differently. There’s always going to be a new way to “cheat”, and I would rather have kiddos use those sites to supplement their learning and understanding rather than solely be used to pass an exam or assignment. Who knows, I could totally be missing the mark but I think in a quickly changing world, education needs to also start adapting and adopting some of the changes that are happening around us.

I’d Love to Hear from You!

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Like always, thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you, and I always appreciate all of the feedback, whether it’s a like, share, general comment, or answers to one or more of the prompting questions below. I know that a lot of us are tired but hang in there! You can do it!

  1. What moral, legal, or ethical issues can you think of in the world of education?
  2. Have you ever found yourself in muddy water in terms of a moral, legal, or ethical issue in education?
  3. Are there any issues that you can think of that I haven’t mentioned in my post this week?
  4. Do you set boundaries for yourself with your students, families, coworkers, etc.? If yes, what boundaries do you set?
  5. Have I missed the mark in terms of shaking teaching and assessment strategies up in secondary and post-secondary education?

6 thoughts on “Yeah, Today I Drove Through the Suburbs… ‘Cause How Could I Ever Figure All These Issues Out?

  1. Great post, Kelly! I agree that assessment could use a shake up. I’m a high school social teacher and have been working really hard the last few years to assess my students less on Googleable (is that a word?), regurgitation & memorization style questions and more on the application of critical skills or digging into the deeper “why does this matter” issues. Personally, I have never had problems with Coursehero or Chegg… but plagiarism is a whole other issue!

    1. Holly, I love how you are shaking up your assessment practices in high school. Has it been perceived well by the students? Do you find that it takes more or less time to assess? Likewise, I haven’t had a problem with websites like Coursehero or Chegg before, but plagiarism is a whole other story for sure! We see lots of that especially at this level and kiddos do not understand why it’s not acceptable.

  2. Some really great points, Kelly. I know that when I was working on my undergraduate degree, I constantly relied on sites that provided me fully worked out answers. Having these answers were such an asset to me because I was able to sit down and work through answers in order to build my own understanding. This also helped me to better understand process and expectations. So is this really cheating? I think it depends on the intention and purpose of using the answers.

    I completely agree with you about assessment practices, however, unless there is a shift from the top down it makes it difficult to make drastic changes. Take tests for example – I think being able to write a test is a necessity to finding success in university, therefore high schools also use tests, which trickles down to elementary school. But should we be giving all students tests when only a portion of them will be given this form of assessment in post-secondary. As you can see, I also frequently grapple with this question. I don’t think there is a right answer, but I am starting to see more and more teachers shift their views of assessment. Applying knowledge requires way more understanding then a test ever will in my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Kate-Lynn. I too agree that testing practices need to be changed up and sites as previously mentioned have a purpose and it does depend on the intent of how one using them. However, I don’t think that testing needs to be eliminated altogether. I think it does serve an importance, and there are times that knowledge needs to be memorized. For example, in nursing or pharmacy, medication is an integral part of the job, and if you mess it up it can have serious consequences or implications. Also, in the trades, apprentices are tested often in a different format on the applied skills they practice and get evaluated upon. Yes, there are still written tests that they need to memorize for things like code, etc. but I think that is a necessary part of the job. Sometimes testing is necessary and sometimes applied knowledge may be a better option.

  3. Hi Kelly,

    I bet the number of teachers who are actually aware of these ‘cheating’ sites is slim. I mean if this was the first time I’m hearing of them I wonder how many students are using them. But I am naive that’s for sure, and students are much more savvy then I am. I’m sure if they were using them they wouldn’t be talking too openly about it! Maybe it’s a math and English issue more than a PE one? Also, to answer another of your questions, just today one of my students said she saw my TikTok (posted for my summary) and I forgot that she is 1 of 6 followers I have- back when I loaded it and she was my grade 8 neighbour/sitter! AHHHHH

    1. Oh goodness, Cymone! I too had a similar experience this week when one of my kiddos in my class said that their stepdad and they found my blog and read it. Although of all of the potentially embarrassing things that kiddos can figure out or find out about a teacher, this is relatively low on the list as it is mostly all about prompts discussed, I still felt a sense of panic. Like, what did I write? Did I say something I maybe shouldn’t have? Or, do I come across as an intelligent and fairly literate person? Why did I immediately feel this way, I am not sure. But I bet it’s because of all the things that run through one’s head when they are a teacher and are trying to be cautious. They’re probably reading this now, and that’s okay! I feel proud (for lack of a better word) that people outside of the class have popped in to read something I’ve written (even if I am selfconsious about it all).

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