Reflections on Teaching Health Care Ethics on the Web

  • Schonfeld T
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As web instruction becomes more and more prevalent at universities across the country, instructors of ethics are being encouraged to develop online courses to meet the needs of a diverse array of students. Web instruction is often viewed as a cost-saving technique, where large numbers of students can be reached by distance education in an effort to conserve classroom and instructor resources. In practice, however, the reverse is often true: online courses require more of faculty time and effort than do many traditional classes. Based on personal experience teaching an online course in health care ethics for students in the Allied Health Professions, it is evident that there are both benefits and challenges in teaching online courses, particularly in ethics. Examples of benefits are (1) the asynchronous nature of web instruction allows students to progress through the course at their own pace and at times that are convenient given their clinical responsibilities; (2) web courses allow for a standardization of content and quality of instruction over a diversity of programs; and (3) examples can be tailored to the differing experiences of students in the course. Some challenges to teaching online ethics courses include (1) the fact that online instruction benefits visual learners and disadvantages those lacking good reading comprehension or strong writing skills; (2) developing meaningful student-student and student-instructor interaction; and (3) teaching ethics involves teaching a process rather than a product. Allowing students to apply their knowledge to real-world cases in their disciplines and encouraging them to share experiences from clinical practice is an effective way to meet several of these challenges. Building an online community is another good way to increase the interaction of students and their engagement with the material. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Science & Engineering Ethics is the property of Springer Science & Business Media B.V. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • COMPUTER assisted instruction
  • DISTANCE education
  • INTERNET in education
  • MEDICAL ethics
  • ethics
  • healthcare
  • online courses

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  • Toby L Schonfeld

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