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Global Ethics Collide in online Accounting Education

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Essay title: Global Ethics Collide in online Accounting Education

Global Ethics Collide in Online Accounting Education

Dr. Orapin Duangploy, CPA, Fiesta Mart Professor, University of Houston-Downtown

Dr. Dahli Gray, CPA, CMA, CFE, Strayer University


Contrasting philosophies (e.g., utilitarian, deontology), this paper addresses global student cultural differences regarding ethical considerations within online accounting education. General comparisons are made within a discussion of equality between traditional face-to-face versus online education. Suggestions are provided to facilitate harmonization of diverse ethical perspectives in online accounting education where the student population continues to diversify.


Madison and Schmidt (2006) addressed “… the academic community’s failure to perform its duty responsibly…” regarding teaching ethics in accounting classrooms (p. 99). Their research was limited to traditional face-to-face classrooms located within North American. Many traditional classrooms are incorporating dimensions of online teaching and learning if not moving completely online.

For example, traditional brick-and-mortar programs (e.g., University of Nebraska, University of Maryland, University of St. Francis) offer many traditional courses enhanced with online components plus courses that are totally online. Online schools (e.g., Jones International University, University of Phoenix) have grown and are prospering in the 21st century.

This paper extends the work of Madison and Schmidt (2006) by considering the following two questions: 1. When is it ethical to teach online? The underlying assumption is the equality between the face-to-face and online courses. 2. What is the “ethical” or “professional” mandate on the instructor to insure than an online course is equivalent to the face-to-face course?

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (1999) reviewed research on the effectiveness, but not the ethics, of distance learning in higher education. In 1999, electronic (e.g., computer) delivery of academic material was considered as a new delivery form. Prior to the late 1990s and 21st century, distance learning was not online. It was regular mail and not email. It was telephone conversations and not discussions or chats online. Ryan (2000) reported, “[m]any university programs are beginning to integrate online classes into their curriculums. The newness of the Internet delivery method raises many questions about class administration and quality assurance.”

Internet delivery or online delivery is no longer new. Researchers such as Wheaton, Stein, Calvin, Overtoom, and Wanstreet (2003) have explored comparing traditional versus online classrooms. They considered variables such as learners’ perceptions of the differences between the two approaches. This paper assumes and acknowledges that online delivery is here to stay and is growing exponentially. Students value the convenience of online learning. For example,

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