Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moral Issues in Education/Learning

I think it is important that we are finishing our course with discussions about moral issues surrounding education, specifically our work as instructional technologists and instructional designers.  It's something that I have been thinking a fair amount about recently, particularly the idea of conscience of craft and the moral obligation we have to do things that are in the best interest of the learners that interact with our designs, products, and experiences.  Occasionally, I think that we make decisions about our designs based on our own convenience.  In my work with first-year students I sit on a number of committees that are charged with developing educational programs and courses for new students at BYU.  I have noticed that quite often when ideas are presented that seem to have the potential to lead to very meaningful experiences for students the response from some is "that would complicate things too much" or "something like that would take far too much effort".  While I recognize that we all have limited resources in terms of time, budget, etc. I feel like the "it's too complicated" response is used far too often.  

I also thought that Sarah Westerberg's comments centered on "commitment" in yesterday's University Devotional Address are connected to this discussion.  When we make the decision to become instructional designers or take a position at the university that puts us in a position to impact student learning I believe that we are making a commitment to do everything we can to enhance learners' experience.  

This isn't to say that I am perfect in this area.  I catch myself drifting into the convenience mindset all of the time--I think that is human.  The important thing is that we continually remind ourself of the commitments we have made as educators and find ways to keep our working engaging enough that it is satisfying to go beyond the minimum in our work.

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