Digital Literacy

Introduction to Ethics

An ethical digital user knows how to work with and use digital information responsibly. Not all materials available online are free to use or disperse. However, organizations such as Creative Commons are creating a set of best-practices for sharing resources ethically. Ethics in the digital world entail knowing when to ask to use or borrow information and how to cite the author(s) to give appropriate credit. Not citing sources or failing to give appropriate credit is considered to be a form of plagiarism. Additionally, ethics entails how the digital user should interact with others in the online environment. 

Helpful Resources

Describes the ethical dimensions of massive online open courses. Dimensions include: etiquette, legal issues, bias and political issues, geographical diversity, learner diversity, social and cultural diversity, and the digital divide.

"Ethics of MOOCs" by Viv Caruna is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Infographic Transcript for Ethical Dimensions of Massive Online Open Courses CC BY SA 4.0 International (attribute

This infographic shows the results of a systematic literature review by Viv Rolfe into the socio-ethical dimensions of MOOCS, and how they extend the ethical dimension of Khan's 2003 Learning Framework. 

The Ethics of eLearning (Khan 2003)  involves the following: digital divide, etiquette, legal issues, bias and political issues, geographic diversity, learner diversity and social and cultural diversity. 

The articles retrieved centered around geographical diversity, learner diversity, social and cultural diversity, social media literacy and digital literacy, ethical behavior in teaching and research, intellectual property ownership, data privacy, quality assurance, academic quality, and bias and political issues. 


Cardenas-Garcia, J. F. (2018). Information ethics in the information ageCosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy14(3), 147-166.

Herr, M. (2021). The interpretation of Creative Commons licenses by US federal courtsThe Journal of Academic Librarianship47(1).

Louw, H. (2017). Defining plagiarism: Student and staff perceptions of a grey conceptSouth African Journal of Higher Education31(5), 116–135.

Seibert, H., Miles, R., & Geuther, C. (2019). Navigating 21st-century digital scholarship: Open Educational Resources (OERs), Creative Commons, copyright, and library vendor licensesSerials Librarian76(1–4), 103–109.

Soler-Costa, R., Lafarga-Ostáriz, P., Mauri-Medrano, M., & Moreno-Guerrero, A. J. (2021). Netiquette: Ethic, education, and behavior on Internet-A systematic literature reviewInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(3).




Machine Learning and Human Bias


Citation: A Very Brief Introduction


license for creative commons

This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.