Team Building: This is such a critical step in forming a good group bond. Many students ended up grouping together with similar disciplines. Cyber Island initially attracted IT students and then recruited someone outside their department that would increase their chances of winning the Most Ethical Island. Making a poster was just 1 aspect of team building. They now had an identity.
Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Gandhi… Were these people really altruistic or were they displaying the ethical theory of egoism? Well, Challenge #7 was to put one of them on trial and find out. The class was divided in 2- one for altruism and one for egoism. There was a lot of research involved and the teams didn’t complete the challenge in 1 class. Next week when they come back we will try Mother Teresa (night class’ choice) and Michael Jackson (day class’ choice).
Mother Teresa On Trial: Altruism or Egoism
- What is Altruism?
- What is Egoism
- Find a truly altruistic person
- Put them on trial
- Opening argument
- Direct examination
- Cross examination
- Closing argument
- Who is it? (add picture)
- What are they known for?
- What makes them virtuous and altruistic?
- What do people say about their altruistic ways?
- Prove their acts are altruistic
- Prove their acts are egoistic
Each week the students are presented with a question. The question is taped to the wall and students use a sticky note to vote. They can choose one side or the other or in the middle.
The students are encouraged to rethink their vote throughout the class and change their vote if necessary. The purpose is to encourage deeper thinking instead of a quick superficial decision. Here are some examples:
This weeks challenge was a Scavenger Hunt. The team to get back first won the Most Ethical Island Award (because all other points were tied). They could text the image, email it, or bring it to me and show me.
Here is the Challenge:
- take a photo of a person who exhibits arete
- take a photo of a person exhibiting Phronesis
- take a photo of a person exhibiting eudaimonia
- Find a picture of the person credited with character/ Virtue ethics. (hint: this man was a student of Plato)
- Find a vice
- Capture a virtue occurring
- do a virtuous deed- get a picture
- take a photo of a person caught in a vice
- ask a person to describe virtue (get evidence)
- ask a person t describe what vice means (get evidence)
Here is a sample of what they sent me (a vice):
The team to win the most Most Ethical Island Awards does not have to take the final…
The night class has 5 teams. 1 team rarely comes to class (2 members). Of the other 4 teams the standings before this challenge were: Cyber (1), MA’s (2); 3 Guys (2); Smiley’s (0).
There are 3 challenges left. They realized that if each of the teams ended up with 2 Most Ethical Island awards there would be a 4 way tie for 1st place and no one would have to take the final… I will let you know how it goes!
Here is the Challenge as they received it:
#1 Unify the Islands (Distributive Justice and Legal Rights)- 3 Parts
Part 1: Distributive justice and resource allocation
The Islands will all unify to have 1 national Constitution. This will not take away any of the individual island’s autonomy. When the islands unify they will be given a start-up budget of $1,000,000 (1 million $$). You must determine how to meet the needs of your United Island Confederation using this budget.
Some questions to ask:
- what are the needs of confederated islands? sewer, water, welfare, free health care, fire and rescue, electricity…
- how will you distribute this money for these needs?
- Will all the islands be treated equally or fairly? What if 1 island is wealthy, do they get less resources?
The islands must all agree on a constitution. You must include certain legal and natural rights. Some questions to address:
- How long do you want your constitution (The US is short, California’s is very long and spells everything out)?
- What natural rights should you include?
- Which legal rights should you include?
- Where are you willing to negotiate?
When you come to class you must elect 1 person to represent your island in the confederation negotiations. Who will that be and what are they authorized to do without taking it back to the group.
The students were to think about Parts 1 and 2 at home, prepare for the class by reading and watching videos and then come ready to do Part 3. Most groups broke up the work and came back together with their portion completed. Here is a sample:
They got frustrated throughout the negotiations because one island was high-tech and the other island wanted to remain primitive. The Morning class decided that they would not and could not unite.
The night class had many different ideas about why they wanted to spend the money and were able to communicate that with al 5 islands. They came to a consensus on the budget within 40 minutes.
Has it really been 3 weeks since I have posted last? Wow, I almost failed at blogging. Like most of our students, I guess. They come in strong and then begin to lose interest. Not on the Ethical Island though. These students have absolutely blown me away!
Challenges are getting to be the most exciting thing. When the students first arrive, we go over who turned in their homework (aka Life Application) and who did the Discussion (a video prompt followed by a discussion amongst the students). We post the score on the board and move on to the challenge. My challenges have gotten longer and longer. The students have moved into a comfortable pace of spending the entire 4 hours working on the challenge in groups. They take breaks as they need them, but spend most of their time doing the challenge.
This weeks challenge was to decide whether each of their respective islands would allow or force voting on their island. They were then asked to analyze Australia’s philosophy of requiring everyone to vote versus the United States’ philosophy that voting is for everyone, but it is also optional to the person. The students were then to decide what their island would require and why based on a deontological argument.
The Morning Class:
9-1pm means that at 1pm you need to go home or to lunch or somewhere. However, the teams continued on until I told them it was 1:30pm and I needed to go eat lunch. They worked really hard and wrote a 5 page report.
The Night Class:
This class meets from 6-10pm. Each team worked individually scattered throughout the University in empty classrooms. Each team discussed what they wanted the voting rights to be on their island and why. I then challenged them to think deeper and apply the elements of the duty theory- Duty, Universalizability, and People are an Ends and not a means. I then gave them a template in Word of how I wanted the report to be written so that they wouldn’t get caught up on APA formatting and such. I wanted to see if they could analyze and think like a deontologist. Here is the entire challenge which they received:
You are creating a report to present to your Island’s Ruling Party. You either do or do not want to require voting and you must defend this position. It will involve 2 main parts:
The Night class has taken on a mind of its own.
Cyber Island implored me to wait on their 4th member to show up before they began the group challenge. I reassured them that I would add up the Ethical Island Award points and then we would start an Island Survival Adventure. The Top Chefs had not arrived. The 3 Guys Island were all ready to go. The MA’s were missing an islander. It was 5 minutes to 6pm (the beginning of class). Smiley Island all appeared quickly and were ready for the Survival Challenge. Soon after 6pm the final member of Cyber Island appeared with dinner for the entire island (they are bonding so well, but are they learning).
The MA’s had 2 inhabitants so they decided to recruit the sole Top Chef’s island inhabitant to their group. T gladly moved over to join the MA’s. I needed him to make the decision of whether he was officially abandoning his island and whether the MA’s would have him. They agreed to have him and he agreed to stay.
The Island Survival Adventure:
The purpose of this fun activity was to address group dynamics and determine whether the students scored better when working as a group verses on their own. 2 groups Synergized while 2 did not. I asked the students to determine why they worked better or worse as a team. I presume it is the “Leader complex.” Many students think the loudest voice is the smartest person and therefore this person should be the “leader.” Many times quiet people have good and often critical reasoning to add. Hopefully this added insight so they could begin the night’s task of learning about Consequentialists.
The Class Agenda
I often over prepare. I learned, through my time in the courtroom, that I need to be prepared for many directions, but willing to change when the class needs change (or the Judge when I am in court). I had a plan and here it is:
- Island Survival Adventure (individual ranking and then group, then discussion)
- Addressing group dynamics and addressing not receiving homework (2 groups had members do homework but forget to submit it)
- Have each group Diagram on large paper everything they knew about Utilitarianism
- Group share on their ideas
- Short (very short) Lecture on Utilitarianism
- Introduce the Challenge
- Introduce resources for the Challenge
8.Use Clickers to evaluate the student’s ending knowledge of applying utilitarian ethics. (they performed well)
The Challenge was to judged by a Gallery Preview. What I mean by this was islands were to post their arguments on the wall (on giant paper) and each person was to vote (by sticky note) for the poster they liked best. The criteria which poster demonstrates the best Utilitarian argument. 2 teams tied.
Ethical Island Award this week went to The MA’s and Cyber Island.