Ethical Behavior

Understanding new principles of digital citizenship and timeless universal ethical values to guide students in building a set of personal ethical values and behaviors.
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Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Students research and discuss a variety of ethical values and principles based on universal ethical principles from the world's philosophical and spiritual traditions and from newly evolving standards of digital citizenship and social media ethical behavior and craft a personal list of ethical behavior codes they would like to follow.

Method Components

As students engage in activity, the educator leads them through some of the strategies that can help them form a personal code of ethics, first general strategies and then strategies specific to the digital age. This can be done individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction.

Strategies for developing ethical behavior

  • Researching universal principles common to many spiritual practices, ethical philosophies, and standards of conduct, such as:
    • Principles of personal ethics: concern for the well-being of others, respect for the autonomy of others, trustworthiness and honesty, willing compliance with just laws, fairness, refusing to take unfair advantage, doing good things for others, preventing harm
    • Principles of professional ethics: impartiality and objectivity, openness and full disclosure, confidentiality, due diligence and care, fidelity to professional responsibilities, avoidance of conflicts of interest, adherence to codes of professional ethics
    • Principles of global ethics: global justice and international law, social responsibility to others, environmental stewardship, interdependence and responsibility for the earth, reverence for place, thinking globally while acting locally
  • Researching principles and standards of digital behavior such as those highlighted by ISTE (see resources section) to form individual codes of digital ethical behavior
    • The digital age has brought new challenges to ethical behavior, and principles of digital citizenship and ethics are rapidly evolving as global connectivity and social media become common.
  • Creating a personal 21st-century Code of Ethical Behavior based on students' digital-age citizenship research, indicating at least one scenario for each principle in which the code is applied to a real-life situation

Suggested preparation

  • Students discuss and list the principles held by ethical people from the past and present and indicate which principles can be considered most appropriate for our times.

Suggested review

  • Students share their personal ethical codes in small groups and discuss the similarities and differences between students' codes; they also discuss the lessons learned from researching and choosing the ethical behavior codes they would like to follow.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Research on ethical behavior among students is complex and shifting rapidly in response to the new challenges that information and communications technologies bring; spending time researching and considering the values, principles, and behaviors appropriate for our times is helpful, especially when these principles can be tested in real life situations where the appropriate ethical behavior may not be so obvious.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient in developing ethical behavior in learning and life? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their proficiency by engaging in the ethical behavior activities and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, and other media) that demonstrate progress toward the ethical behavior competency, including items such as evidence of discussions about ethical principles and behaviors, examples of the codes of ethical behaviors the students developed, evidence of improvements in students’ ethical behavior, examples of how their social behavior has improved from their work on forming and using ethical codes of behavior, and other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit student-created reflections on their experience of the ethical behavior activities. Use the following questions as a guide (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did the ethical behavior activities help you understand what it means to be an ethical person?
  • How did developing your personal ethical codes change your social behavior and your view of the value of having a written code of behavior to follow?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as a guide (200-word limit):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the ethical behavior activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily teaching practice in the future?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Ethical Behavior
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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