While there is much focus on the bonding relationship between student and teacher in higher learning institutions, there seems to be less focus on bonding between students. The former, of course, is just as important as the later, but the later seems to be largely ignored as a whole.
Because learning institutions generally leave it up to the students to develop their own bonds, whether that be by joining a campus club, playing a team sport, or creating a study group. But there is another way to build bonding between students and that is through high quality ethics courses.
What is an Ethics Course?
Ethics courses are a branch of philosophy whose intent is to defend what is right and what is wrong in a given context. Otherwise known as moral philosophy, these types of courses intend for the learner to defend the philosophy behind right and wrong conduct as a whole.
An ethics course can fall under many different titles including some of these from Penn State:
- Black Liberation and American Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Conflict in Africa
- Archaeological Ethics and Law
- Introduction to Buddhism
- Introduction to the Religions of China and Japan
- Bioethics: Mapping the Field
- Persuasion and Propaganda
- Democratic Leadership for Deliberative Government and Social Change
- The Rhetorics of War and Peace
- Communication Ethics
- Race, Gender, and Identity in World Literature
- The Holocaust in Film and Literature
- Human Rights and World Literature
- Bias, Prejudice, and Hate Crime
- The Culture of Stalinism and Nazism
- The Israel-Palestine Conflict
- History of Communism
- History of Fascism and Nazism
- Genocide and Tyranny
- Persons, Moral Values and the Good Life
- Introduction to Philosophy of Law and Legal Ethics
- Introduction to Business Ethics
- Ethical Leadership
- Environmental Ethics
- Philosophy of Law
- Business Ethics
- Technology and Human Values Medical and Health Care Ethics
- Civil Liberties and Due Process
- The Ethics of Western Religion
- Homelessness in America
As you can see, the subject of ethics can be taught across many different subjects and topics, but the question remains: How can quality ethics courses create student bonding?
Best Practices for Designing Ethics Courses
Use concrete examples: When teaching an ethic’s course, keep in mind that students walk away with little of what they heard from a lecture. However, real-life situations is what really gives an ethics course the ability to capture students’ attention and put the idea of “right and wrong” into a relatable context. For example, a professor could use a personal ethics dilemma they have faced and invite students to do the same.
By using this strategy, students are brought into an actual situation and they have the opportunity to see what happened and how ethics came into play. Professors can also encourage students to think of scenarios in their own lives where ethics played a role. Exploring what the “right” and “wrong” solution would be allows them to better understand how ethics impacts their lives and the people around them.
Encourage personal reflection: By using the concrete examples mentioned above, along with leading questions, professors can invite students to concentrate on personal reflection in small groups.
A professor recently did this with a group of first-year college students. They used the classic example of “cheating” as the source of the discussion. The students had to put themselves in the position they had the opportunity to cheat and then explain why or why not they would do this, and how ethics influenced their decision. This seemingly simple exercise allowed students to have that “ah-ha” moment of the impact of ethics, even when they didn’t realize it.
Explore personal values: Encourage students to explore their own personal values and how these values form their ethics opinions. These values can include duty, family, integrity, wealth, justice, fairness, and power, for example.
Student Bonding through High Quality Ethics Courses
One of the ethics courses not listed above is Small Group Communication which teaches skill development in the areas of group discussion, leadership, and teamwork, all of which promote bonding among students. While most ethics courses focus on religion, civil liberties, conflict, race, and gender, there are not many that focus on creating a bonding experience among students except for the one just mentioned.
Within the context of a traditional brick and mortar learning experience, there are many ways for students to bond, however, when students are participating in online learning and are separated by geographical distances, student bonding becomes more difficult and can even be entirely absent.
With the introduction of quality online ethics courses, universities and professors can enable this missing bond to take place regardless of geography. These ethics courses should be planned from the start to include the goal of student bonding.
To learn more about creating eLearning solutions and custom content creation when it comes to high quality ethics courses, you can rely on Focused Eduvation to help you reach this goal. Contact us today to start creating your own ethics custom content that will bring your students closer together.