ITGS Syllabus

Monday, October 09, 2006

Topic 152

Social impact and ethical considerations of: distance learning, digital entertainment, global media and public information systems. by Chaan

I’ll define all the terms listed above and then talk about how they have social and ethical impacts on today’s world. First one is distance learning, which is basically learning from distance. Distance learning can be illustrated through many examples. For example, I knew this mom last year that was doing a distance learning course from her home through a college in Minnesota, and then our beloved ITGS teacher last year (Mr. Jamieson) was also doing some kind of distance learning course in education. The social impact of this is actually very positive. Mothers can fulfill their dreams while taking care of their kids at home and many employed people can educate themselves while being attentive to their work. The only ethical dilemma with this can be the problem of “outside help”. People will often ask other people to “help them out” with a problem and with your teacher/instructor being thousands of miles away, cheating can be easy. However, since most distant learners are adults they wouldn’t take that path, knowing that cheating is bad.

Digital entertainment is basically any sort of entertainment that can be enjoyed through the means of computers, ipods, phones etc, or any kind of electronic devise. The social impact of this is also very positive, but also very negative at the same time. The positive impact is that since all this is available to us we would become couch potatoes. That might be a bit far-fetched but at least nobody gets bored anymore! The negative social impact is that people spend too much time watching movies and tv shows that they forget that a “real” world exists outside. When they realize it, it’s often too late, and they have a hard time adapting to the “real” world. The ethical impact is that people often steal or copy digital data in order to save money. I know I have done it and I am sure YOU have done it too. As Steve Jobs says, “Don’t steal music.”

Global media is basically the worldwide access to news and anything that happens. With the help of the Internet and e-mail, pretty much everything is considered “global” in today’s world because it takes less than a minute for news to spread around the globe. Global media can also refer to the video teleconferences that take place around the world in executives’ office. The social impact is that people are so used to chatting and video conferencing that meeting a person in real life can be terrifying for some people. It does save a lot of time and money for sure because people don’t have to travel across the ocean to meet the company. In case of news and media, everyone is well aware of what’s going around them because of constant access. Ethical impact can be that the media can talk about things that are ethically wrong for example rape, sex, violence and drugs and since kids have access to TVs and internet these days, it can be bad for them.

Public information system is basically the information that is available to the public through different means. For instance property records, corporate filings, public records. Bad thing about this is that people can view information about you that you don’t want people to know. And good thing is that police can easily track the criminals down. Ethical consideration is that people might use this for the wrong purpose. For example, a hi-tech criminal might use this information to track the person down and steal his identity!


Social impact and ethical considerations of: distance learning, digital entertainment, global media and public information systems. by Chirag

Distance Education is a field of expertise exploring situations in which the learner and the teacher are separated in time, space or both. As Marshall McLuhan stated in his most famous sentence: "the medium is the message", research in distance education consistently proves that the attributes of the medium alter the teaching/learning process. For this reason, distance educators have paid a lot of attention to these attributes. The technologies used to mediate in the teaching/learning situation are classified in four groups: printed, audio, video and electronic, according to the following structure:

• Printed Correspondence education. Books, study guides, texts and other printed materials.

• Audio Broadcast radio, telephone, audiocassettes, audio conference

• Video Broadcast and cable TV, Satellite, Videoconference, Recorded Video (Cassettes, DVDs)

• Electronic Computer mediated communication, mobile learning

These media in turn are sub classified as synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (deferred time), that means that the communication between the student and the facilitator of learning occurs live or in deferred time. Synchronous media are audio conference videoconference, and some forms of satellite combined with phone calls. Asynchronous media are recorded audio, recorded video, radio, TV and some satellite delivery.

A second sub classification refers to one-way or two-way delivery. One way delivery includes radio, TV, one way satellite and pod cast). In this case, the originating site provides all the content and the receiving site is mainly passive. Two-way delivery considers audio conferencing, videoconferencing, chat, video stream. In this case, real time communication is enabled by technology and instructors take advantage of the of background knowledge of the participants to enrich the learning environment.
Finally, a third sub classification focuses on human-to-human interaction: one-to-one (such as correspondence); one-to-many (such as radio and TV; and many-to-many (such as computers). With the advance of multimedia. Robotics and artificial intelligence, we may consider expanding this classification to human-machine-interaction, in which avatars and intelligent agents assume part of the responsibility of the instructor which so far it has been demonstrated essential to ensure quality of distance education (Sloan-C Foundation)

Generations of Distance Education (Garrison, 1990)

First Generation

Correspondence education, educational extension, home studies

Second Generation

Teleconferencing- telephone - radio - Audio conference - Educational TV - Satellite - Videoconferencing

Third Generation

Computer Mediated Communication - Online learning - Web Based training - Virtual education - Cyberspace education - Distributed learning - Asynchronous learning - Mobile learning - Serious games - Multimedia - DVDs-Web Based Training.
Socially Distance learning has a very positive impact on the society as it helps people do several activities simultaneously. For example, a student can do a short hand course from an artificial (virtual) University specially created for distance learning through the use of Computers and Internet. That makes it very easy for people to conduct online classes with the help of video/audio conferencing. The ethical impact on the society with this can be that it’s very easy to commit fraud with people online by making them pay and cheating with users.

In today’s Era digital entertainment has changed everyone’s lives dramatically, making entertainment available for us anywhere, anytime and easily possible. With the help of many portable devices such as laptops, portable media players, etc. we can carry entertainment with us anywhere, everywhere it’s possible. Therefore socially it has a positive impact on our lives making it easier and more fun. The ethical issues with this can be that people easily break the copyright statements issued by the companies on their media and can become illegal leading to negative consequence.

As the networking technology is developing it is becoming easier for people to stay connected to other parts of the world. Through Global Media we can easily know what’s happening in other parts of the world without even having to visit it. It’s easier to meet people over the internet as global media makes it possible for us to chat, video conference, audio conference with other people whether it is for business purpose, networking, romance or anything else. But then the ethical issues that rise against digital entertainment are that as the modern generation is becoming more and more sexually exposed to the media, it can cause some ethical problems against inappropriate content being exposed to the public.


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