Use of Multimedia in Bioethics Education


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This presentation, delivered at the 3rd Cambridge Consortium on Bioethics Education in June 2013, looks at three ways multimedia are being used in teaching bioscience students about bioethics at the University of Leicester, UK. Visual media, primarily short clips, are used in teacher-led sessions. Secondly, students are required to produce their own short films. Thirdly, students write an analysis of a recent news story, which must be available as an online news clip.

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Use of Multimedia in Bioethics Education

  1. 1. Dr Chris WillmottDept of Biochemistry,University of of Multimedia inBioethics Education3rdCambridge Consortium for Bioethics EducationUniversity ofLeicester
  2. 2. Overview• Multimedia (esp visual media) can be integrated intoteaching about bioethics in variety of waysUse ofbroadcast clipsVideoproductionNewsanalysis
  3. 3. Context: Leicester• University of LeicesterSchool of Biological Sciences• Second Year Undergraduates- Medical Biochemistry (n=40)- Other Biologists (n= 180)
  4. 4. Context: UK Curriculum• Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)• Subject Benchmark Statements• “Subject benchmark statements set outexpectations about standards of degrees in a rangeof subject areas. They describe what gives adiscipline its coherence and identity, and definewhat can be expected of a graduate in terms of theabilities and skills needed to develop understandingor competence in the subject.”
  5. 5. “Students should expect to be confronted by someof the scientific, moral and ethical questionsraised by their study discipline, to considerviewpoints other than their own, and to engage incritical assessment and intellectual argument”“Recognising the moral and ethical issues ofinvestigations and appreciating the need forethical standards and professional codes ofconduct”QAA Benchmarking for Bioscience
  6. 6. All students should:“Have some understanding of ethical issues andthe impact on society of advances in thebiosciences”Good students should:“Be able to construct reasoned arguments tosupport their position on the ethical and socialimpact of advances in the biosciences”QAA Benchmarking for Bioscience
  7. 7. Clips in teaching• There is huge pedagogic value in the use ofbroadcast media• Video (and audio) clips:- familiar and engaging medium- to help scene-setting- to convey factual information- as discussion starters- clips more efficient than full programme
  8. 8. Clips for Scene-settingSouth Park: “Kenny Dies”(Paramount Comedy, 16thJanuary 2006)
  9. 9. Clips for Factual ContentA Child Against All Odds(BBC1, 14thNovember 2006)
  10. 10. Clips as Discussion StartersHolby City: “Better The Devil You Know”(BBC1, 6thSeptember 2006)
  11. 11. Holby City - xenotransplantation• Pete has kidney failure and is being offered the lastopportunity of a transplant, using a kidney from a pig• What ethical arguments might there be for/againstthis operation?• What scientific concerns might there be about anoperation of this sort?• If you were Pete’s friendwould you suggest that heaccepts the doctor’s offer?Why/why not?
  12. 12. Film production• Some work producing our own filmsWhat’s so controversial aboutpharmacogenomics?Model organisms inbiomedical researchPower of comparativegenomics
  13. 13. Film production• Some work producing our own films• Since 2008, require students to produce films• Work in teams of 4 (set by me)• Make 3-5 min video on allocated topic• Best films are made available more broadly viaYouTube (linked from Bioethicsbytes)
  14. 14. Film production• Concerns that “you cannot sayanything meaningful in 5 minutes”not substantiated• Rare opportunity within biology curriculum forstudents to express creativity• Genuine team activity rather than just “group work”• Authentic Assessment – real-world relevance
  15. 15. Student films (1)Forensic Uses of DNA(2010,
  16. 16. Student films (2)Mitochondrial Diseases and 3-Parent IVF(2013,
  17. 17. Student films (3)Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing(2013,
  18. 18. Student films (4)Ethical Issues in Public Health(2011,
  19. 19. News analysis• Research Skills module• Second year (second semester), n = 180• Students write 1000 word commentaries on currentnews story that raises bioethical issues• Max 200 words summarising content, rest focussedon ethical arguments• Appropriately referenced
  20. 20. News analysis• Story must be from previous calendar year(i.e. Jan 2012 to Dec 2012 for 2013 cohort)• Story must be available as video clip on BBCwebsite (max 5 mins, not clip from longerprogramme)• Authentic Assessment/”Students as Producers”• Best summaries made available asresources for wider community
  21. 21. News analysis
  22. 22. Bioethicsbytes•• Set up in 2006• A hub for sharing multimedia resources for teachingabout bioethics• Variety of formats
  23. 23. BioethicsbytesSuggested sections offilms & TV programmes
  24. 24. BioethicsbytesIn depth reviews
  25. 25. BioethicsbytesRecommendation ofexternal resources
  26. 26. BioethicsbytesBook Reviews
  27. 27. Any Questions?E-mail: cjrwSlideshare: cjrw2Delicious: chriswillmottBlogs: University ofLeicester