While online learning allows incorporation of useful features such as audio-visual inputs, debates and role plays, the ethical dilemma was in the enforcement of compulsory classroom participation, stated the findings of a research conducted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur research team. The research was conducted on social and ethical issues associated with the pandemic-induced online mode of learning among students and teachers of higher education in India.
According to an official release, the research team was led by Venkatesha Murthy, assistant professor, School of Management and Entrepreneurship, IIT Jodhpur. “We have captured the ethical nuances of this new reality by juxtaposing the lived experiences of the two key stakeholders (learners and educators) and also captured the phenomena across multiple academic disciplines.” Murthy said.
The research further suggested that in India, outcomes of online education are complicated due to several factors which includes- approximately over 30 million learners, poor internet connectivity in many places, and non-availability of private learning spaces at home for many learners. “To tackle this complex subject, the research team employed a qualitative analysis approach with a thematic framework to collect data on online learning, and to understand the socio-psychological and ethical challenges to the online learning process,” the statement said.
Furthermore, it added that during the online practice, live camera feed was often considered an intrusion into the learner’s private space. It caused discomfort to learners, their family members, and other participants in the virtual classroom, it stated. “Similarly, the privacy of educators was also a sensitive issue, as many teachers worried about public release of their videos and caricatures in some unpleasant way,” the research outcome added.
According to the understanding of the research, it suggested that there is a need for educational institutions and faculty to gain technology know-how to enable seamless transition from face-to-face to online learning. Researchers also recommend learners can be provided self-paced, self-directed online lessons in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or faculty-created asynchronous videos. “Field visits and self-learning through collaboration can also be fostered for hybrid approaches,” it added.