#13 Week 4: Duty

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.

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:

•Challenge: Step into the shoes of a Deontologist… (everything should be presented from a duty theory)

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:

–Part 1- Research voting and demonstrate an understanding of voting practices and needs.
–Part 2- (1) Will your island require voting and (2) Who can or cannot vote?
•What to include in your report? (You must use the report template in APA format)
–Part 1: Research
1.Read “Requiring Voting” (page 12 http://ethics.iit.edu/eb/2010%20Regional%20IEB%20Cases.pdf)
2.Do your research on voting and on duty theory
1.…on Voting (written results)
»Learn the history of voting and why one would require it -OR-
»Create a survey and survey people  -OR-
»Find out if it has worked? -OR-
»Determine who is not allowed to vote in the United States or in other countries. Why? -OR-
»Do your own research…
2.…on Duty theory (written results)
–Address  the parts of Deontology
»Duty- Would requiring (or not requiring) voting be the right thing to do for the right reason(s)?
»What is the Maxim and does it meet the Categorical Imperative?
»Are the people voting (or not voting) an “Ends” in themselves or are they a “Means” to your island’s ends?
3.Analyze your findings through the eyes of a Deontologist (brainstorm)
–How does your findings fit into this theory? Apply voting to each element of Deontology
–Part 2: Application
•1) Will your island require voting and (2) Who can or cannot vote?
•Why  does this fit within the Duty Theory?
The winning paper was amazing and blew all the other papers out of the water. BUT, ever group demonstrated understanding of what Duty Theory is. Very Proud!

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.

Team Based Learning Resources FOUND

I think this is pretty cool! I had the basics before stumbling upon the website Team Based Learning Collaborative. But, I was experimenting with how to implement my team based learning. I knew I wanted to teach in fun new ways that put the learning back on the students and freed me from the noose of lecturing. I didn’t know about things like:

  •  How do I grade the group vs. individual work?
  • How do I get the students to come to class prepared?
  • How do I create dynamic groups?

Now, I have found others out there in the college setting who truly are like-minded and believe in team based approaches. So excited!

Let me know what you think about this site and the concept of Team Based Learning and not just group work!!!