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Though it's focus is on "online learning,"  it reaches well into our work and actions in mental health.   The process and format of the course is called a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC),  This course is free.

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Introduction ...

Ethics should make us joyful, not afraid. Ethics is not about what’s wrong, but what’s right. It speaks to us of the possibility of living our best life, of having aspirations that are noble and good, and gives us the means and tools to help realize that possibility. We spend so much more effort trying to prevent what’s bad and wrong when we should be trying to create something that is good and right.

Similarly, in learning analytics, the best outcome is achieved not by preventing harm, but rather by creating good. Technology can represent the best of us, embodying our hopes and dreams and aspirations. That is the reason for its existence. Yet, “classical philosophers of technology have painted an excessively gloomy picture of the role of technology in contemporary culture,” writes Verbeek (2005:4). What is it we put into technology and what do we expect when we use it? In analytics, we see this in sharp focus.

Ethics is based on perception, not principle. It springs from that warm and rewarding sensation that follows when we have done something good in the world. It reflects our feelings of compassion, of justice, of goodness. It is something that comes from inside, not something that results from a good argument or a stern talking-to. We spend so much effort drafting arguments and principles as though we could convince someone to be ethical, but the ethical person does not need them, and if a person is unethical, reason will not sway them.

We see the same effect in analytics. Today’s artificial intelligence engines are not based on cognitive rules or principles; they are trained using a mass of contextually relevant data. This makes them ethically agnostic; they defy simple statements of what they ought not do. And so the literature of ethics in analytics express the fears of alienation and subjugation common to traditional philosophy of technology. And we lose sight, not only of the good that analytics might produce, but also of the best means for preventing harm.

What, then, do we learn when we bring these considerations together? That is the topic of this essay. Analytics is a brand new field, coming into being only in the last few decades. Yet it wrestles with questions that have occupied philosophers for centuries. When we ask what is right and wrong, we ask also how we come to know what is right and wrong, how we come to learn the distinction, and to apply it in our daily lives. This is as true for the analytics engine as it is for the person using it.  ...

Stephen Downes' website is here:

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