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

    Author: Amy M. Wiles1
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    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: [email protected].
    • ©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 Science 2011 Vision and change in undergraduate biology education report [Online.] http://visionandchange.org/files/2013/11/aaas-VISchange-web1113.pdf
2. Doorn N, Kroesen JO 2013 Using and developing role plays in teaching aimed at preparing for social responsibility Sci Eng Ethics 19 1513 1527 10.1007/s11948-011-9335-6 3857546 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-011-9335-6
3. i>Clicker 2011 i>Clicker2 New York
4. Johansen CK, Harris DE 2000 Teaching ethics of biology Am Biol Teach 65 352 358 10.1662/0002-7685(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 S 2012 Strategies for meaning ful gamification: concepts behind transformative play and participatory museums Presented at Meaningful Play 2012 Lansing, MI [Online.] http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/meaningfulstrategies.pdf
6. Velasquez M, Andre C, Shanks T, Meyer MJ Winter 1996 posting date. Thinking ethically: a framework for moral decision making Issues Ethics 7 1 [Online.] http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.753
2014-12-15
2019-06-19

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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