Ethics Videos

This is a collection of articles and videos (mostly videos) that I give the students to watch outside of class. The students are given both reading and watching assignments each week. They are also encouraged to learn from other sources what they need to learn about the theory before they come to class. When they come to class prepared, we can jump right into the Challenge of the week and have fun with the theory.

The Need for Rules


Good and Evil


Stanford Prison Experiment

Abu Ghraib


Jeremy Bentham


Overview (essay)


1 Minute Moral Theory

Ross (news article)

Consequentialism v. Deontology

Kantian Ethics

British Lady

Rights and Justice

What are Rights

Positive vs. Negative Rights



Rawls and Nozick

What are Human Rights?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


1 minute ethics





Audio recording


#15 Week 5 (moved to begining of week 6): Rights and Justice Theories Challenge #1

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?

Part 2:

The islands must all agree on a constitution. You must include certain legal and natural rights. Some questions to address:

  1. How long do you want your constitution (The US is short, California’s is very long and spells everything out)?
  2. What natural rights should you include?
  3. Which legal rights should you include?
  4. Where are you willing to negotiate?

  Part 3:

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:

Island Budget

Morning Class:

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.

 Night Class:

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.

Khan Academy

I have been in search of more information on Flipping the Classroom. The idea of flipping is that you get all the content out of the classroom and challenge the students to do everything they would have done (lectures, read, videos) in the classroom to do it at home on their own. The end result is that you do projects, solve problems, and get more one on one learning in the classroom. It is not a new idea, but one that can revolutionize my department. Khan Academy is based on this theory. Khan Academy has tons of videos and such that encourages learning at home.

I tried some physics videos on my own children. After they did their math homework for the day, we applied it. Before we could apply it, we had to learn about how long that darn runway needed to be to land a plane safely. This in turn needed physics learning first. So, a few of the kids learned this on Khan Academy. The best thing about kids is that they are interested in learning. The worst part about kids learning is that they get bored easily. That is… unless electronics and hands on activities (that matter) are involved.

Even though the kids are not of age to land a plane like their uncles, they at least know how mathematically. Thank you, Khan Academy.

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.


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.


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.