Tweet! – am I showing unconscious bias?

We all have unconscious bias, where we are drawn to people or communities like ourselves and pull away from anyone we deem as different. This comes up frequently if you are responsible for hiring or people management.

I’m wondering if I am showing this in my verbalisation of the teaching staff on my MOOC, am I choosing to name them differently because I don’t see them as equal to teaching staff who work on campus?

It makes me wonder about opinions of online behaviour and community and if we unconsciously judge them in the same way. Kozinet’s writing (2010) made me think of this when he spoke of the assumption that online interactions were superficial and short term. Somehow in this opinion, the statement is there that online is less than.

It’s a similar bias with online study, with MOOCs or even ODL seen as less than on-campus study, even though as Knox (2013) shows, the potential of a 2 tier system with MOOCs means MOOC students could end up having to achieve the same results without the teaching support, on-campus support and direction of a campus student working towards the same accreditation. Still online study can be perceived as “less than”,  maybe why the Digital Education degree at the University of Edinburgh is not listed as online study in any way on the degree certificate? To prevent this bias?

Maybe I should try harder to ensure my language doesn’t show my unconscious bias.


Knox, J., 2013. Five critiques of the open educational resources movement. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(8), pp.821–832. Available at:

Kozinets, R.V., 2010. Understanding Culture Online. In Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. London: Sage, pp. 21–40. Available at: