Document Type

Coping with Ethical Issues

Publication Date



The millennial generation is immersed in an Internet culture that embraces and endorses illegal downloading and file sharing. Staff writer Ron Barnett, from the Greensboro News, reports that one billion copyrighted songs are downloaded each month in violation of copyright. Because it is more likely that you will get hit by a bus than be sued by a record or video company, young people engage in these illegal activities daily.

How, then, are we to teach them about academic integrity and information ethics when the culture tells them that if you do not get caught it is okay to do what you want?

Presenters will outline the unit of their course covering information ethics and present scenarios that they use to generate meaningful discussions with students about copyright fair use, and plagiarism. Scenarios offer a way to present the major ethical/legal concepts in the course, while allowing students to move from understanding to application of the ethical principals in their own lives.

This session applies to the conference theme on several levels. Ethical issues in the academy are constantly changing, as institutions struggle to cope with rising rates of student plagiarism. Moreover, students themselves, their culture, and how they interact with information are "moving targets" that instructors need to understand in order to have meaningful discussions about ethics. This presentation demonstrates how active learning strategies and scenarios can give instructors insight into how students interact with information, as well as teach students about its ethical and legal uses.