Using electronic discussion boards to teach responsible conduct of research

Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (4):617-630 (2005)
Abstract
This study presents the results of a survey of student satisfaction with electronic discussion boards in a course on the responsible conduct of research (RCR). On a 1–5 scale, the respondents stated that the use of the electronic discussion board was an effective teaching tool (4.71), that it enabled them to get feedback from their peers (4.43), that it helped promote discussion and debate (4.36), that it helped them learn how to analyze ethical dilemmas in research (4.36), and that they would consider using an electronic discussion board, if they ever taught a course themselves (4.76). In their written comments, the respondents indicated that electronic discussion boards are a convenient way of promoting debate and in-depth discussion. These results suggest, but do not prove, that discussion boards can promote debate and discussion in courses on research ethics. Instructors who teach RCR should consider using electronic discussion boards in regular or online courses, and they should consider studying the effectiveness of electronic discussion boards in research ethics education. Although electronic discussion boards cannot replace the face-to-face interaction that occurs in a classroom setting, they may provide a useful medium for the exchange of ideas and opinions online.
Keywords discussion boards  ethics  online education  responsible conduct of research
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