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Ethics Matters: Online Education in Disruptive Times

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Our Globethics.net online course programme makes a difference: it provides executives, young professionals and students from around the world with an inspiring learning environment to engage with cutting edge issues related to ethics. In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more evident than ever that humanity and the whole of creation are interdependent and that life on earth is not imaginable without shared values.

At Globethics.net, we believe that the application of ethics in the world of learning can result in crucial institutional and personal changes. We are also convinced that societal debates need to take place in the classroom. Our current online course on Corporate Social Responsibility showcases this approach. One of the world's leading experts in the field of CSR, Professor Michael Hopkins, who co-directs the course together with his fellow Globethics.net Pool of Experts colleague Meggy Kantert, has offered a series of public online events around the theme of CSR, sustainability and COVID-19. Participants of the course have had the opportunity to take part in this inspiring lecture-cum-discussion suit and benefited from sharing experiences with professionals around the world.

My friend and colleague Professor Esther Mombo of St Paul's University in Limuru, Kenya, shares with me on her journey as academic teacher transitioning from residential to online teaching to ensure continuity in the educational offer of her institution. She vividly illustrates the need for understanding these efforts in a wider contextual setting, when she writes: "Our numbers (of people infected with the virus) are going up daily…we have had some recoveries, but we fear that if numbers go higher our health system will not cope." 

These are the stories that we take seriously and attempt to translate into meaningful online education. Ethics is not abstract, but interwoven into the real life experiences of people, their suffering and their aspirations. As an encouragement for participants affected by the COVID-19 pandemicGlobethics.net Academy offered five study places free of charge and discounted tuition fees for a limited period in March 2020.

More importantly, we believe that the unique value proposition of the Globethics.net Academy, in these times, reposes on continuity of access to quality education offered through our online platform, and thereby allowing an intercultural conversation on existential issues. Ethics in higher education as an example of applied ethics. This is also valid for the most enriching experience with a group of young academic teachers in Afghanistan, who found themselves together as a self-guided tutorial group around our Ethics in Higher Education for Teaching Professionals course.

The participants remind us that the conditions for and the access to higher education, as well as to resources for research are not evenly distributed.  Hence, ethics constitutes not only a crucial subject matter for studies, but also an orienting compass on how we can, as institutions and as individuals, become more mindful of the disparities in higher education and address them together. Our learning in these disruptive times of the pandemic is that ethics matters, more than ever.

Quality first: designing a quality framework for Globethics.net qualifications

Globethics.net Academy has made progress with its efforts in enhancing the quality of its online course offer and in its programmatic accreditation process. In April an extensive and substantial compilation of new and revised quality oriented documents has been submitted to the benchmarking agency UK NARIC in the United Kingdom, and subsequently, a new agreement has been signed with the agency on the design of a quality framework with the planned outcome of three major quality assurance guideline documents by September 2020. Globethics.net has also elaborated a new Ethics in Higher Education qualification pathway, which includes a blended-learning component with an optional, onsite training-of-trainers module, and three online Executive Certificate modules in Ethics in Higher Education (EHE) for Teaching Professionals, EHE for Administrative Professional and in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability. A crucial part of this development consists in creating a higher visibility and a more comprehensive approach with regard to integrating resources of the Globethics.net e-library collections and the publications series into the online course offer by way of presenting themed course and resource packages.       

Fostering partnerships and innovative learning contents: a glimpse into course development

One of the most rewarding experiences of the past months is the collaboration with our colleagues at Jesuit Worldwide Learning and with four international experts on the development of an online course on Interreligious Cooperation for Peace. The course will be available as of the autumn semester 2020-2021 and comprises 24 modules covering a wide range of topics from hermeneutics of sacred texts to intercultural communication and to ethical principles for peacebuilding. 

The Globethics.net global Pool of Experts: a warm welcome to our new members

Globethics.net prides itself to dispose of a worldwide network of higher education institutions committed to ethics as foundational for their institutional development and of dedicated and highly profiled academic educators. Supporting in multiple ways the delivery of our academic programmes and the production of resource material and publications, the Pool of Experts constitutes a vital forum of international academic exchange on ethics. We extend a warm welcome to our new Pool of Experts members, selected and appointed by the Globethics.net Board of Foundation in April 2020: Professor Meera Baindur, India; Professor Paul Dembinski, Switzerland; Ms Meggy Kantert, M.A., Germany; Professor Dicky Sofjan, Indonesia, and Professor Retha Visagie, South Africa. 

Are you ready for a unique teaching experience? Call for applications

Globethics.net is inviting its Pool of Experts members and other interested specialised academics, with an experience in online teaching, to apply for the following online teaching assignments for Globethics.net's upcoming modules starting on 15 June 2020 with a duration of 8 to 10 weeks:

  • Responsible Leadership
  • Cyber Ethics
  • Ethics in Higher Education for Administrative Professionals

Applications of Pool of Experts members are received per simple email, and applications by other interested academics per email with a CV and a list of previous teaching assignments to academy@globethics.net until 1 June 2020. We will be pleased to respond to your queries related to details of the teaching assignments under the same aforementioned email address.

Globethics.net Academy sends warm regards to all its international course participants, instructors, assessors, academic partners, bringing to mind the common dedication to quality education reposing on shared values of dignity, respect, peacebuilding and sustainability. We are grateful for the experience that these disruptive times have brought us also closer together in reflection, in sharing of new ideas and methods of learning and in upholding the principles of education and research open and accessible to all. The entire team of the Globethics.net Academic Programmes and Resources is looking forward to a continued and fruitful collaboration in fulfilment of its mission to promote ethics in higher education.   

Amélé Ekué, Academic DeanAmélé Adamavi-Aho Ekué
Globethics.net Academic Dean