8.PreTest and Assessments

The initial pretest will be in the form of the game Balderdash. I have created cards with ethical theories, ethicists, and other common ethics vocabulary words. I have also written the correct definition on cards. Each student will create their own definition on a card. They should write the real definition if they know it. The students will use clickers to vote on the correct definition.

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7. The Theories

The course will run 10 weeks. Each week we will look at a different ethical topic or theory. Here are the topics and theories for the 10 weeks.
1. Introduction
2. Good and Evil
3. Utilitarianism
4. Deontology
5. Rights and Justice
6. Virtue
7. Religion
8. Gender
9. Diversity
10. Wrap up

6. How was the first Night?

Night Class:

My first impressions:

My Night class was very different from my day class. Most students had much more energy and many more opinions. The class was composed of 16 students from many different disciplines. There were 5 groups of 3 people each. 1 group started off with 2 students and then quickly recruited another students to increase their points to win the Most Ethical Island Award. 2 students were missing and the established islands discussed how they would recruit or not recruit the missing students.

4 of the islands were comprised of students from the same discipline (1 culinary island, 2 health science islands, and 1 IT island). There was one team with a mixture of disciplines.

Most students were very vocal that they did not need a Code of Conduct and voted No on the diagram. Some students voted Maybe. And, even fewer voted Yes.

Scrabble:

There were 2 teams that played by Traditional rules and 2 teams that made up rules to the game. One of the teams that made up the rules, made the rules so “unfair” and ridiculous, that the Traditional team quit after the score was 219 to 43.

The other teams played longer, were more friendly, but still agreed it was boring and unfair.

Not very many students changed their vote to needing rules. But, of the students that did change their minds, were on the Traditional Scrabble teams.

Syphilis Video:

This outraged many students and they were closer to changing their vote, but were still resisting the need for rules.

Island Flags: The students all participated in creating flags that created a collected identity for their island. The team names are: Cyber Island, Three Guys Island, Smiley Island, The MA’s, and The Chefs.

Code of Conduct: The Islands then proceeded to make a Code of Conduct that would control the conduct on their island by the islanders and all visitors. The night class completed their Code.

Homework:

I asked all the students to go home and answer a few “exit” questions. These are the questions:

  1. What did you think about the first class?
  2. Answer any or all of the following:
  • What did you think about the island theme? Why?
  • What did you think about the scrabble game we played with 2 islands? Why?
  • What is 1 thing you learned today? Explain.
  • What is 1 thing you want to learn? Explain.
  • What did you think this class was going to be before Day 1? Did it change?
  • Anything else that came to mind during the first class?

The responses blew me away! I will update when I get more in- it’s only been 20 hours and they have a week.

Conclusion:

The night class is so different. They are much more resistant to changing their minds.

5. How was the first Day?

Day Class:

My first impressions:

The Day class arrived sceptical. I first asked the students to organize the room into islands. The students (now islanders) joined the islands. The make up of the islands were random in the morning class. The islanders were then asked to decide whether they needed rules. The morning class was mostly maybe’s and a few No’s.

Scrabble: The goal of the Scrabble game was to get the students to realize a game is more fun when everyone plays by the same rules. To achieve this goal 1 team played by traditional Scrabble rules. The other group was asked to make up their own rules. Each Island played Scrabble by their rules on their island and then the Traditional Scrabble island came over to the Our Rules Island nad played each other. The Our Rules Island won by about double the other team’s score. The Our Rules Island was very kind and cordial only changing some traditional rules. These minor changes frustrated the Traditional Scrabble Island. At the end of the game, the Traditional Scrabble Island changed their vote on the diagram to YES and added, “we needed the same rules.”

Syphilis Video: The goal of the video was to demonstrate the need for rules and rules that follow the person and not just the “Island” (or country). The video demonstrated that when it became unethical to do human experiments in the US, some medical professionals may have taken these experiments to a “friendly” nation where the rules didn’t apply. At the end of the discussion after the video, many students were outraged and changed their vote to, Yes (we need rules). Although some students thought that there was plain evil taking place, an evil that rules couldn’t control (this is next weeks topic- good and evil).

Island Flags: The students all participated in creating flags that created a collected identity for their island.

Code of Conduct: The Islands then proceeded to make a Code of Conduct that would control the conduct on their island by the islanders and all visitors. The Day class did not finish and will continue next week.

Homework:

I asked all the students to go home and answer a few “exit” questions. These are the questions:

  1. What did you think about the first class?
  2. Answer any or all of the following:
  • What did you think about the island theme? Why?
  • What did you think about the scrabble game we played with 2 islands? Why?
  • What is 1 thing you learned today? Explain.
  • What is 1 thing you want to learn? Explain.
  • What did you think this class was going to be before Day 1? Did it change?
  • Anything else that came to mind during the first class?

The responses blew me away! One said she thought this was going to be the most boring class, that she might reconsider, and that she was shocked that she could learn from Scrabble. Another student said she didn’t realize how important rules were.

Conclusion:

I shared that rules are not what ethics is, but that ethics is the why behind when we follow our rules. I need to instill this more.

2. An Island Ethics Course

Welcome to the Students:

There are a group of islands in the ocean that have been abandoned. Each of you will inhabit the islands, with your classmates, for the next 10 weeks.

Once you have chosen which island to inhabit, you will create  a code of conduct (AKA Ethics Code) for your island. This will describe proper behavior for anyone who lives on or comes to your island.

Additionally, your island is a part of a group of islands that have decided to unify. You will also need to create a charter for these islands (later in the course).

Throughout the course, your island must work as a group to accomplish all tasks within the course and ultimately be The Most Ethical Island…

First Impressions:

# of Students: 6-17

The day class was composed of 6 students and the Evening course was composed of 17 students.  It was a mixture from different departments, including Culinary, IT, Health Science, but no business students.

Seating arrangements:

The students initially sat in straight rows scattered throughout the room in the Day course. The islands were not visible. I asked the students to first organize the room into islands. They looked at me quizzically and then began to walk toward a table. The tables are 2′ by 6′ arranged in several rows- not islands. I asked if they would leave the far left wall open so we could work on a poster (which included a vin diagram entitled: Do You Think We Need a Code of Conduct?). I started to help the students make 4 sets of 3 tables with the chairs placed around the perimeter of the “islands.” The students then began to sit at opposite ends of the room inhabiting many “islands.” I then asked the 6 students who arrived on time to split into 2 islands.

The students in the Night course walked into a room with island’s already created.

Overview of course:

I began to explain the idea for the course. The course grades would be divided into 4 sections: Life Application (8 at home assignments); Discussion (8 discussion topics); Final Project (25% taken by the least ethical islands); and Ethics Points (awarded 8 times by the ethic’s officer). Additionally, there is a Most Ethical Island award given each week. The team that collects the most Most Ethical Island awards throughout the term may choose to forgo the final and proceed to an island party. The reasoning behind this is that, if a group of students are the Most Ethical Island, they have ideally mastered all the Ethics’ concepts throughout the course and therefore don’t need a final evaluation to see that they got it.

Laying the foundation that we need rules:

The first obstacle was to have the student decide whether or not rules are needed- I needed them to need rules. The plan was to have a vin diagram on the wall that allowed students to answer, “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” Most students chose No (saying, “We are all adults”) and Maybe (I don’t, but my island friends might”). No students chose Yes. The students were encouraged to get up and change their mind at anytime should issues arise and rules be needed.

The first attempt:

“We don’t need rules” was the consensus. However, the first challenge to this was to introduce a game, Scrabble. Half the islands were forced to play by Scrabble rules. The other half were allowed to make up their own rules. The students were then asked whether they wanted to change their vote on the Vin Diagram.

The Second attempt:

Next, I showed a 16 minute video on a Syphilis Experiment. The students were then asked whether they wanted to change their vote on the Vin Diagram.

On To the Code:

Islands were then asked to construct a group identity through making an Island Flag and then an Island Code of Conduct.

1. Hello world!

Welcome to An Ethical Island!

An Ethical Island was birthed after teaching the same course the same way for too long.  I have decided to try a new way. And, I am inviting you along with me to see how I survive the Island I have created in Humanities 110: Ethics.

Overview:

There are a group of islands in the ocean that have been abandoned. Each of you will inhabit the islands, with your classmates, for the next 10 weeks. Once you have chosen which island to inhabit, you will create  a code of conduct (AKA Ethics Code) for your island. This will describe proper behavior for anyone who lives on or comes to your island. Additionally, your island is a part of a group of islands that have decided to unify. You will also need to create a charter for these islands (later in the course). Throughout the course, your island must work as a group to accomplish all tasks within the course and ultimately be The Most Ethical Island…

 Goal:

Islanders will each elect an Ethic’s Officer for their group. This ethic’s officer will help lead and guide the island into becoming the most ethical island in the region.

Obstacles:

 The islands will face many challenges. They will be forced to make difficult decisions and use difficult ethical theories. These challenges will lead to points (grades) being awarded. You must choose to act ethically or  unethically.