Levinas and the “inter‐face”: The ethical challenge of online education

Educational Theory 55 (1):61-78 (2005)
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The capacity of online education to produce learning environments that are supportive of hybrid identities, complex discourses, and multiple relations among learners raises questions about the ethical response of online educators. To investigate the ethics of online education, we discuss two questions: How are identity and communication constituted in online education? What are the features of an ethical pedagogy in online education? Such questions help us think in alternative ways about the ethical dimensions of online education. We argue that Emmanuel Levinas's views on ethics and otherness can overcome some of the ethical challenges inherent in online education by helping educators and learners become more aware of how they respond to the Other and consider their ethical responsibility to the Other's multiple and complex identities. An ethical pedagogy for online education that takes seriously the unknowable and irreducible Other has the potential to provide us with a different notion of what constitutes ethical pedagogies



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