Learning in the Panopticon

First published article :-)

Sheehy, K.; Ferguson, R. and Clough, G. (2008). Learning in the Panopticon: ethical and social issues in building a virtual educational environment. International Journal of Social Science. Special Edition: Virtual Reality in Distance Education, 2(2), pp. 25–32.

This paper examines ethical and social issues which have proved important when initiating and creating educational spaces within a virtual environment. It focuses on one project, identifying the key decisions made, the barriers to new practice encountered and the impact these had on the project. It demonstrates the importance of the ‘backstage’ ethical and social issues involved in the creation of a virtual education community and offers conclusions, and questions, which will inform future research and practice in this area. These ethical issues are considered using Knobel’s framework of front-end, in-process and back-end concerns, and include establishing social practices for the islands, allocating access rights, considering personal safety and supporting researchers appropriately within this context

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