Syllabus for PHI-286

CONTEMPORARY ETHICS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

"The unexamined life is not worth living" [Socrates]. . . . Our purpose is not to make up anyone's mind but to open minds, and to make the agony of decision making so intense that you can escape only by thinking. Our part in that process, the production of the television programs and the writing of these texts, is now finished. (Fred Friendly, 1988)

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Contemporary Ethics seeks to accomplish the following objectives: to dramatize the anguish of choice and to emphasize the need to think through the painful choices of the moral life.

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Distinguish between philosophical orientations such as the pursuit of virtue, obedience to God, the deontological tradition, and hedonism and utilitarianism.
  2. Analyze ethical questions such as, What makes an act right? and What makes a human life good?
  3. Apply ethical reasoning to issues involving such matters as justice, accountability, autonomy, loyalty, and privacy.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Study Guide

ISBN-10: 0-13-182626-3


Reader

ISBN-10: 0-13-182625-5

Video and Audio Programs

Note: The audio and video programs are available via streaming technology through this course site. See the folders called Video Programs and Audio Programs located at the top of the course Web site.  Within each folder will be the links for all audio and video programs for this course.

COURSE STRUCTURE

Contemporary Ethics is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules and covers thirteen study units (chapters) in the Ethics in America Study Guide. Modules include study materials, and activities.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in four (4) online discussion forums, complete six (6) written assignments, a short online quiz in module 1 and two (2) online examinations--a midterm and a final exam.  

For the both the midterm and final examinations you are required to use the College’s Online Proctor Service. Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Your coursework includes four online class discussions, one each in modules 2, 3, 4, and 5. You are expected to participate in these discussions and will be assigned grades for participation.

Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

Contemporary Ethics has six (6) written assignments built around associated units (chapters) in the Study Guide. All assignments involve two essay questions; the first assignment is further supplemented by a short online quiz on logical (formal), factual (empirical), and normative statements.

When you have done all of the assigned reading, listening, and viewing for each study activity, prepare your answers to the written assignment questions. Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and should convey your understanding of the course materials. Formulate responses in your own words (do not merely copy answers from your reading materials), citing text materials where appropriate and in an appropriate manner.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Examinations

Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored exam. It is two hours long and covers all material assigned in modules 1–3 of the course. The exam consists of four (4) essay questions. The questions are much like those on the written assignments in that they are broad and try to make you think.

Final Exam

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers all material assigned in modules 4–6 of the course. Like the midterm, the final exam consists of four (4) essay questions. The questions are much like those on the written assignments in that they are broad and try to make you think

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

 

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.

 

 

Plagiarism

Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

 

Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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