Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Ethical Digital Literacies and the Teaching of Writing

The final chapter of Teaching with Digital Media in Writing Studies: An Exploration of Ethical Responsibilities includes a heuristic of ethical digital media use in the writing classroom, which consists of a list of questions to be considered at the programmatic, curricular, and pedagogical levels, as well as questions to be considered at the level of the individual course and teacher-student relationship. Coley suggests that WPAs and instructors should think through these questions before implementing digital media into their curriculum, which will help their implementations be purposeful. He then goes on to list some curricular outcomes (for faculty and institutions as well as for students) and writing activities that would be part of an ethical literacy of digital media. Some of the most salient outcomes for faculty and institutions are as follows:

  • Implement case studies of ethical dilemmas
  • Integrate ethics teaching across the curriculum
  • Develop a lexicon that helps students articulate moral values
  • Include many opportunities for student reflection

Some of the student outcomes are as follows:

  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Master theories and principles of ethics
  • Identify and analyze moral issues
  • "Cultivate tolerance toward disagreement"
  • Develop the ability to argue multiple sides of an issue (Coley 123).

Finally, Coley lists some sample assignments that will help students develop an ethical literacy of digital media. Some sample assignments include:

  • Have students write an autobiographical paper about the development of their character, applying course terminology and themes to their own experiences.
  • Have students write a paper examining the moral components of an area of their own interest.
  • Have students write a paper on the ethics they plan to exemplify in their digital media writing.
  • Have students write a manual for how to use a certain digital tool, carefully considering audience, privacy, ownership of writing, etc.
  • Have students examine "the cultural implications of a given digital media tool and the ethical ramifications of that use in other cultural contexts" (124).

While these assigments are only described very briefly, each strongly relates to the goals of the ethical digital literacy that Coley calls for in his text.