Reflections on teaching health care ethics on the web

Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (3):481-494 (2005)

Abstract
As web instruction becomes more and more prevalent at universities across the country, instructors of ethics are being encouraged to develop online courses to meet the needs of a diverse array of students. Web instruction is often viewed as a cost-saving technique, where large numbers of students can be reached by distance education in an effort to conserve classroom and instructor resources. In practice, however, the reverse is often true: online courses require more of faculty time and effort than do many traditional classes. Based on personal experience teaching an online course in health care ethics for students in the Allied Health Professions, it is evident that there are both benefits and challenges in teaching online courses, particularly in ethics. Examples of benefits are (1) the asynchronous nature of web instruction allows students to progress through the course at their own pace and at times that are convenient given their clinical responsibilities; (2) web courses allow for a standardization of content and quality of instruction over a diversity of programs; and (3) examples can be tailored to the differing experiences of students in the course. Some challenges to teaching online ethics courses include (1) the fact that online instruction benefits visual learners and disadvantages those lacking good reading comprehension or strong writing skills; (2) developing meaningful student-student and student-instructor interaction; and (3) teaching ethics involves teaching a process rather than a product. Allowing students to apply their knowledge to real-world cases in their disciplines and encouraging them to share experiences from clinical practice is an effective way to meet several of these challenges. Building an online community is another good way to increase the interaction of students and their engagement with the material.
Keywords ethics  healthcare  online courses  distance education
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-005-0018-z
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Ethics at the Interface: A Successful Online Seminar.Kenneth D. Pimple - 2005 - Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (3):495-499.

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