Ethical Principles in E-Learning; Investigating Key Issues in Instructional Design and Teaching Methods: A Narrative Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Virtual School, Comprehensive Center of Excellence for E_ Learning in Medical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


Background: The expansion of E-learning has brought about new ethical challenges concerning academic integrity, privacy, inclusivity, technological impacts, and power dynamics, necessitating careful examination. This article reviews the literature related to ethical issues in online education to prioritize considerations for instructors and educators. 
Methods: A review of 49 articles on E-learning ethics published during 2005-2022 was conducted. Manuscripts were retrieved via Google Scholar, ERIC, and Education Source databases utilizing “online learning ethics,” “e-learning ethics,” “academic integrity,” and “learner privacy keywords. The articles were analyzed using qualitative synthesis.
Results: Key ethical priorities in this study include preserving academic integrity through comprehensive policies, safeguarding learner privacy via data security mechanisms, enhancing inclusivity through design considerations, evaluating technological impacts, and exercising responsible instructor power. 
Conclusion: Actively addressing ethical complexities enhances academic integrity in digital classrooms, but sustainable engagement with the evolution of e-learning requires continuous participation. The findings shed light on the responsibilities of online educators in empowering diverse learners.


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