How to teach professional ethics and research ethics? An example of an applied philosophy activity
What are professional ethics? Does following a code of ethics to the letter guarantee the quality of a professional’s work? What are research ethics? Is applying the steps in the scientific method sufficient to develop knowledge that complies with research ethics? These interdisciplinary questions have guided development of a pedagogical activity in the course Ethics and Politics specific to humanities programs, which strives to “apply philosophical, ethical and political theories to current situations, specifically chosen in the student’s field of study.” But how do we promote development of this element of the competency and assess progress while dealing with students from different backgrounds and with a diversity of educational and occupational interests?
The author of this article recently developed a three-part term assignment that addresses this diversity. Through this activity, she found an increase in her students’ motivation and involvement in their third compulsory philosophy course. Since professional ethics and research ethics skills are not the sacred domain of philosophers, this pedagogical activity applied to and centred on the specific interests and needs of students may inspire philosophy teachers as well as those in other disciplines seeking to familiarize their students with the ethical challenges of their future occupation. The author presents the considerations that led to the development of each educational activity, which do not necessarily require transforming an entire course, as well as the methods for achieving this and the feedback from the first students to do so.
Article available in French only.
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