Online Method 301

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Course Method

This online ethics course is designed to allow you flexibility, yet also to have discussion with other students about the course material. For this purpose, you will be organized into groups of 4-6 students. These are your chat groups. They were selected with your preferences (blackout dates, preferred days of week,) in mind.

The Prep Cycle!

You should generally follow the rule of having your reading done for the unit within the first two days of the unit. Here's the "prep cycle" (note term) that I strongly encourage you to follow with each unit of the course. The harmony and level of achievement of your chat group will be greater if you all follow this prep cycle.

1. Check the assignment for the unit on coursewebsite, read focus paragraph, note page numbers.

2. Read. (Note: Study Questions by unit are on the wiki. Look at study questions before you read. Even record notes about them as you read.)

3. Chat. (The timing of chat sessions to unit dates will be hit or miss. Follow the instructions for chat sessions on the wiki. The goal is for your group to move from good from study question work sessions to more open ended philosophical discussion of the material. So be prepared to discuss and answer study questions or issues raised by each of you for the most recent reading first. (See the wiki page on Chat and Discussion Board and the Assignments link on the course website for more information.)

4. Repeat for each unit.

5. Complete end of term assignments and any assigned papers.


You only need to come to terms with three pieces of technology in this course:

1. The Course website: roster, grades, email utility., click "courses", then your course, login with email on roster and "bulldog".

2. The Course wiki. A place for notes, study questions, new and student created content, schedules of chat sessions. This is where most information about the course itself can be found, aside from the course schedule. No need to login to view information. First login:, click "wiki," click upper right corner "login," first time: click on "Create an Account," use all of your GU network login information (this authenticates you). Subsequent logins are briefer. When logged in edit links are visible. Visit the student practice page to experiment with wiki edits. There are more resources there. You just need to be able to post text and links.

3. Google chat. If you do not have a gmail or google+ account, you will need to create one. This makes it possible for your small group leader to contact you and schedule chats. For help see:

Advice to Chat Group Leaders

Chat Group Leaders,

The main tasks of the chat group leader are:

  1. Survey availability of group members and schedule 3-4 chats.
  2. At the time of the chat session, make sure everyone can join and moderate the chat session
  3. Send a transcript of the chat session to me.

If you're fortunate, your group members will respond quickly to your scheduling emails. If you need help prompting people, let me know. You do need to give people 2-3 days to reply since students are sometimes out of reach of internet during the summer. Sometimes you can schedule all of the chats up front. Other times you will need to schedule different times to accommodate summer schedule.

During the chat itself you can suggest study questions to answer, but at some point good chat will follow their own topics and interests. The goal is to give all of the group members opportunities to demonstrate their understanding, ask questions, and express themselves. That's what I'll be evaluating, so it is important that you moderate the chat session with these goals in mind.

Don't forget to copy the chat transcript in an email to me!