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Enhancing the Human Potential, MATCHETT

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These materials provide an overview of EthAssist -- an online teaching and learning tool designed to help users (1) identify the ethical dimension of their choices and (2) deliberate more effectively …

These materials provide an overview of EthAssist -- an online teaching and learning tool designed to help users (1) identify the ethical dimension of their choices and (2) deliberate more effectively about how to resolve ethical conflicts. The session will be a live demonstration of the tool.

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  • 1. 
 Presentation materials for: Eth-Assist: A Tool for Ethics Teaching and Learning Online Presented as part of the panel on Enhancing the Human Potential: Innovative Tools for Teaching in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Western Consortium for Educational Technology (WCET) 21st Annual Conference Presenter contact info: Nancy J. Matchett, PhD Director, Institute of Professional Ethics Assistant Professor of Philosophy University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO 80639 nancy.matchett@unco; 970-351-1567 Abstract: EthAssist is an online teaching and learning tool designed to help users (1) identify the ethical dimension of their choices and (2) deliberate more effectively about how to resolve ethical conflicts. It is informed by ethical theory, but rather than teaching the theory didactically the tool engages users in the process of applying theoretical insights to concrete issues. This session is designed to provide participants with a hands-on demonstration and discuss ways the tool can be used to facilitate ethical inquiry about any subject and within any discipline. EthAssist is still under development, but the prototype is the guided deliberation process of the online Center for Ethical Deliberation. The pages below contain screen-shots from the existing guided deliberation process along with notes about how it is being improved and transformed into EthAssist. Please note • The online Center for Ethical Deliberation (CED) is currently hosted at http://www.mcb.unco.edu/ced/index.cfm, though it is undergoing a design overhaul and will move at some point in the next 6 months. • The CED is a project of the University of Northern Colorado’s Institute of Professional Ethics. More information about how the CED can be incorporated into ethics teaching and learning can be found here: http://www.unco.edu/ethics/our_activities.html#B • The “three frameworks” approach to ethical deliberation has also served as the basis for the online Responsible Conduct of Research training modules found here: http://www.democmesite.cme.uab.edu/ORI/Case_Study/default.html and here: http://www.uab.edu/graduate/rcr/index.html The Institute of Professional Ethics is always looking for collaborators. If you are interested in helping to develop additional content for the CED website, or if you would like more information about how to incorporate the EthAssist tool in your own teaching or professional development work, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
  • 2. 
 THREE ETHICAL FRAMEWORKS (The central architecture of the Eth-Assist Tool) CONSEQUENCES DUTIES VIRTUES Each framework What kind of outcomes What are my What kind of person focuses on a central should I produce (or try obligations in this should I be, and question → to produce)? situation, and what what will my actions are the things I show about my which guides should never do? character? deliberation through all three stages ↓ S Perception: specific Directs attention to the Always keeps an Attempts to discern T features to which future effects of all eye on the duties character traits A attention is primarily possible courses of that exist prior to (virtues and vices) G directed action, for all people the current situation that are, or could be, E who will be directly or and determine motivating the S indirectly affected by peopleʼs people involved in the action. obligations within the current situation. O the situation. F E Judgment: Ethical conduct is Ethical conduct Ethical conduct is T conception of value whatever will likely involves acting on whatever a fully H used to anchor ethical achieve the best established moral virtuous person I judgments consequences (a principles or rules would do in the C consequentialist thinker (a duty thinker circumstances (a A needs to explain why needs to explain virtue thinker needs L certain outcomes are why certain to explain why especially desirable or principles or rules specific character D important to produce). are obligatory). traits are important E for human beings to L develop). I B E Motivation: reasons Aim is to produce the Aim is to live up to Aim is to develop R for living an ethical life most good in the world. oneʼs obligations – truly excellent A Everyone benefits, obeying constraints character, making T including the self. on behavior that all the most of oneʼs I people have good individual nature in a O reason to accept wider social context. N 

  • 3. 
 
 Overview
of
the
EthAssist
Tool
 
 EthAssist
will
guide
users
through
four
stages
of
ethical
deliberation.
While
novice
users
are
 encouraged
to
go
through
all
stages
in
order,
any
user
will
have
the
option
to
visit
single
stages
 in
isolation.
The
tool
can
be
used
to
analyze
an
already
existing
resolution
to
a
theoretical
or
 practical
issue,
or
to
deliberate
about
issues
users
wish
to
resolve
on
their
own.
(Note:
Screen
 shots
are
taken
from
the
existing
Guided
Deliberation
Process,
which
serves
as
a
prototype
but
 will
be
completely
replaced
by
EthAssist)
 
 STAGE
1
–
Describing
the
Situation:
users
describe
their
present
concern
and
are
given
the
 opportunity
to
tailor
the
site
resources
to
their
specific
interests
or
needs.
 Any
text
 inside
 boxes
is
 added
by
 users.
 
 
 Subsequent
steps
within
the
re‐designed
version
of
this
stage
will
include:
  Advice
on
how
to
select
the
most
appropriate
framework
given
the
user’s
stated
 interests
and
concerns.

  The
ability
to
review
and
draw
from
any
existing
site
content
on
a
particular
topic
(e.g.
 ‘Aristotle’
or
‘whistle‐blowing’
or
‘integrity’).
  The
ability
to
select
issue‐specific,
discipline‐specific,
or
profession‐specific
modules
as
 they
become
available
(e.g.,
“ethics
in
Public
Relations).

Such
modules
will
cause
 subsequent
stages
to
be
focused
on
appropriate
subsets
of
site
content.


  • 4. 
  The
option
to
provide
demographic
data
that
may
be
of
interest
to
scholars
relying
on
 data
from
the
site.
 STAGE
2
–
Honing
Perception:
users
are
prompted
to
identify
additional
features
of
the
 situation
that
are
ethically
significant,
but
which
the
user
may
not
have
noticed.
 
 N.B.:
user
text
 entered
in
boxes
 here
becomes
fixed
 text
for
further
 reflection
in
sub‐ sequent
stages
(see
 next
page).
This
 occurs
throughout
 the
process.
 
 
 
 Prompts
during
this
stage
vary
depending
on
the
ethical
framework
and/or
module
selected
in
 Stage
1.
  The
Consequences
Framework
(shown
in
the
sample
above)
focuses
user
attention
on
the
 likely
outcomes
of
the
various
courses
of
action
available
in
the
situation.
  The
Duties
Framework
focuses
attention
on
the
obligations
that
are
likely
to
exist
in
the
 situation.
  The
Virtues
Framework
focuses
attention
on
the
character
traits
that
are
likely
to
motivate
 people
in
the
situation.
 
 Subsequent
prompts
during
Stage
(2)
give
users
the
opportunity
to
reflect
on
and
add
detail
to
 their
previous
inputs
(see
the
screen
shot
on
the
next
page
for
a
sample).
 

  • 5. 
 
 
 
 Additional
Detail
of
Stage
2
 
 
 Links
enable
users
to
see
how
others
 
 have
completed
this
stage
and
access
 
 New
links
will
facilitate
 other
site
content.
 
 informal,
social‐networking
 
 as
well
as
coaching
by
 
 dedicated
teacher/trainers.
 
 
 Bold
face
text
shown
here
 created
from
the
user’s
 own
previous
inputs.
 Additional
text
input
here
 becomes
fixed
text
in
 subsequent
steps/stages.
 
 
 Clicking
the
Proceed
button
 
 takes
user
to
the
next
step
 The
Deliberation
Map
enables
users
to
 
 within
the
currently
 customize
their
own
path
through
the
 
 selected
framework.
 site
(moving
between
frameworks
 
 and/or
skipping
stages
as
appropriate).
 

  • 6. 
 
 
 STAGE
3
‐
Clarifying
Judgment:
users
are
prompted
to
identify
the
specific
values,
principles
or
 ideals
that
anchor
their
final
judgments
(or
ground
the
analysis
found
in
another
text).
 
 
 Hyperlinks
 encourage
users
to
 review
content
 elsewhere
on
the
 CED
website.
(Detail
 of
the
“Perspectives”
 area
is
provided
on
 the
last
page
of
this
 attachment.)
 
 
 This
stage
encourages
users
to
review
a
variety
of
ethical
perspectives.
The
architecture
of
the
 site
treats
each
perspective
is
as
a
specific
way
of
looking
through
one
or
more
of
the
three
 frameworks.
  Each
perspective
articulates
and
defends
a
specific
(set
of)
ethical
value(s),
principle(s)
or
 ideal(s).
  As
scholars
to
analyze
existing
works
use
the
site,
additional
perspectives
will
become
 available
for
other
users
to
review
and
consider
(required
database
modifications).
  Perspectives
that
simply
cannot
be
made
to
fit
within
any
of
the
three
frameworks
will
be
 tagged
as
outliers
(another
database
modification).
Scholars
can
access
this
database
to
 open
up
new
lines
of
inquiry
into
how
theoretical
constructs
relate
to
the
ethical
life.
  Again,
subsequent
steps
within
this
stage
give
users
the
opportunity
to
reflect
further
on
 any
content
they
input
to
the
site.
 

  • 7. 
 
 
 
 STAGE
4
‐
Cultivating
Motivation:
users
are
prompted
to
consider
whether
they
will
in
fact
do
 the
action
they
have
judged
to
be
ethically
appropriate,
and
more
broadly,
to
reflect
on
the
 nature
and
scope
of
the
human
desire
to
life
ethically.
 User
response
determines
 subsequent
prompts.
N.B.:
 here
and
elsewhere,
text
 will
be
revised
to
be
more
 compatible
with
scholarly
 analysis
as
well
as
novice
 deliberation.
 
 
 Subsequent
steps
within
this
will
stage
enable
the
user
to:
  Identify
the
main
obstacles
to
ethical
motivation,
along
with
strategies
to
overcome
them.
  Reflect
on
the
question,
“Why
be
ethical?”

  Search
the
database
for
techniques
and
suggestions
provided
by
other
users
and/or
based
 on
specific
scholarly
perspectives.
 
 Finally,
the
option
to
“submit
for
analysis”
will
be
completely
revised
to
enable
users
to
request
 feedback
from
and/or
provide
feedback
to
other
users.
  The
submission
link
will
be
separated
from
the
deliberation
map
since
it
is
largely
 independent
of
the
deliberative
structure
built
into
the
site
architecture.
  Search
functions
will
enable
users
to
browse
the
most
recent
submissions
or
to
review
 submissions
based
on
specific
criteria
(framework,
module,
user
demographic,
etc.).
 

  • 8. 
 
 Sample
of
additional
CED
website
content:
EthAssist
will
interact
with
this
content
in
two
ways
 1) Links
within
the
EthAssist
tool
encourage
users
(especially
novices)
to
review
and
reflect
on
 various
responses
to
the
broad
ethical
question
of
how
one
should
live.
 2) Scholars
who
use
the
site
to
analyze
important
texts
will
be
encouraged
to
post
their
results
 additional
perspectives,
issue
analyses,
etc.
 
 
 Each
link
allows
 the
user
to
 access
deeper
 layers
of
the
site
 content.
Page
 layouts
provide
a
 visual
represen‐ tation
of
key
 conceptual
 
 
 relationships.
 
 Sample
of
additional
detail
found
under
 
 perspective
links.
 
 
 Deepest
links
will
go
to
open
 source
full
text
scholarly
works
 (whenever
possible).