Journal of Information Systems Education (JISE)

Volume 22

Volume 22 Number 3, Pages 191-202

Fall 2011


Information Ethics Education for a Multicultural World


Kenneth R. Fleischmann
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742, USA

Russell W. Robbins
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA

William A. Wallace
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, USA

Abstract: How can we prepare information systems students to face the ethical challenges of a globalized world? This paper describes a three-step approach for addressing these challenges. First, we have designed undergraduate and graduate information ethics courses that expand the range of learning of ethical theories beyond the traditional Western canon to include a wide spectrum of non-Western and feminist theories. Second, we have designed interactive cases for this course that adopt a collaborative learning approach where students work together in small groups by playing different roles that make interdependent decisions. Third, we deliver these cases via an educational simulation, making the approach scalable and transferable to other institutions across the country and around the world. The data for this study includes textual answers from end-of-semester questionnaires completed by 101 undergraduate and graduate students during four information ethics courses that included use of the simulation. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis, focusing on the multicultural and global dimensions of student learning. Five themes emerged from data collected in the four courses: Learning about a Diverse Range of Ethical Theories; Learning about how Ethical Theories are Related to Culture and Values; Relating International and Multicultural Dimensions to Understanding Oneself; Relating International and Multicultural Dimensions to Understanding Others; and Understanding the Role of Ethics and Culture in Information Systems Design and Use. Based on these results, the three-step approach developed in this study can be implemented across the country and around the world to ensure that students are prepared for the ethical challenges of a globalized world.

Keywords: Ethics, Culture, Diversity, Role-play, Simulation, Educational software

Download this article: JISE - Volume 22 Number 3, Page 191.pdf


Recommended Citation: Fleischmann, K. R., Robbins, R. W., & Wallace, W. A. (2011). Information Ethics Education for a Multicultural World. Journal of Information Systems Education, 22(3), pp. 191-202.