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Ethical Dilemmas in the Biology Undergraduate Classroom: Role-Playing Congressional Testimony

    Author: Amy M. Wiles1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Mercer University, 1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 15 December 2014
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Mercer University, 1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207. Phone: 478-301-2765. Fax: 478-301-2067. E-mail: wiles_am@mercer.edu.
    • ©2014 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 227-228. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.753
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    Abstract:

    Students often struggle with weighing multiple sides of bioethical dilemmas. The assignment described here incorporates discussion of ethical dilemmas in an upper-level undergraduate biology course. Students are introduced to ethical dilemmas in genetics through discussion of issues in small groups. They are then polled as to what positions they take on each dilemma and are assigned to argue a side opposite of one of their choices. Each student receives a subpoena to appear before a Senate subcommittee to give testimony as an expert witness. This role-play provides students with a starting point and motivation for developing their argument as well as a way to distance themselves from their own opinions by acting as someone holding the opposite stance. At the end of the presentations, students are required to reflect on the experience.

References & Citations

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science2011Vision and change in undergraduate biology education report[Online.] http://visionandchange.org/files/2013/11/aaas-VISchange-web1113.pdf
2. Doorn N, Kroesen JO2013Using and developing role plays in teaching aimed at preparing for social responsibilitySci Eng Ethics191513152710.1007/s11948-011-9335-63857546 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-011-9335-6
3. i>Clicker2011i>Clicker2New York
4. Johansen CK, Harris DE2000Teaching ethics of biologyAm Biol Teach6535235810.1662/0002-7685(2000)062[0352:TTEOB]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2000)062[0352:TTEOB]2.0.CO;2
5. Nicholson S2012Strategies for meaning ful gamification: concepts behind transformative play and participatory museumsPresented at Meaningful Play 2012Lansing, MI[Online.] http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/meaningfulstrategies.pdf
6. Velasquez M, Andre C, Shanks T, Meyer MJWinter 1996 posting date. Thinking ethically: a framework for moral decision makingIssues Ethics71[Online.] http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.753
2014-12-15
2017-09-22

Abstract:

Students often struggle with weighing multiple sides of bioethical dilemmas. The assignment described here incorporates discussion of ethical dilemmas in an upper-level undergraduate biology course. Students are introduced to ethical dilemmas in genetics through discussion of issues in small groups. They are then polled as to what positions they take on each dilemma and are assigned to argue a side opposite of one of their choices. Each student receives a subpoena to appear before a Senate subcommittee to give testimony as an expert witness. This role-play provides students with a starting point and motivation for developing their argument as well as a way to distance themselves from their own opinions by acting as someone holding the opposite stance. At the end of the presentations, students are required to reflect on the experience.

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