Online Implementation for Ethical Dilemma Technique


                                                          The image obtained from google safe search.

Ethical Dilemma is one of the in-class techniques that can be used by educators to engage students. According to Barkley, it has some unique benefits as it “helps students to think through values within the context of real world and course-related situation” (p.313, 2010) and prepare them to make ethics-based choices when they encounter similar situations in the future (2010). I had a successful online experience as learner with the technique that I would like to share, the typical strategy directions were trivially altered to fit the online environment, I will start first with a brief description of the steps done during my experience.

  • The educator posted few short scenarios that pose a realistic dilemma related to the subject matter and partnered each with one other student at the first week of the course.
  • The educator provided reading materials that explains ethics and decision making models that can be used to resolve the ethical issues, for our practice we were supposed to use Kidder’s ethical framework to help reach out a decision
  • At the third week, each student should contact his or her partner and decide which scenario they are going to work on.
  • From week 4 to 6, students were asked to discuss the dilemma and try to apply the moral philosophy principles in the form of responding to each of the nine steps of Kidder’s guidelines. This was done in the discussion forum and monitored by the educator
  • At week 7, students were asked to write two reports, the first was a group report that respond to few guiding questions that help learners document their work and justify the solution reached, and the second was a self-assessment report that document the individual contribution of each student.

Examining the experience from an educator perspective, I believe the implementation had three phases, preparation phase from week 1 to 3, main phase weeks 4 to 6 and the final-phase week 7. The purpose of the preparation phase is to enable students to understand the core concepts of ethics for example students should able to differentiate between values and ethics, as well as understand the core steps of the decision making model. A key factor for success in this stage is that the educator was able to create a sense autonomy in which students were provided the right to make their own choices which give them the sense that what they are learning is relevant their lives.

In the main-phase, students were engaged in a series of discussions to resolve the dilemma. during this process, they analyze, evaluate, and extrapolate their ideas and conclusions which definitely lead them to higher–order thinking, students also learn to switch to different solutions and approaches when their initial attempts fails to work and most important they developed their awareness of ethical reasoning and resolution essential to tackle similar future situations.

In the last phase, I consider the group report to be a formal end product where students offer the results of their learning experience, those results or decisions are explained and justified . In the self-assessment report students were able to reflect on their practice and highlight the main strengths and challenges they faced during their investigation to reach out their resolution. By the end of this learning experience students should be able to realize that decisions are always more tough in the absence of standards and clear guidelines, and thus institutes should try to address as many conflicts as possible in their codes of ethics, doing that would support their individuals to better deal with gray areas that are encountered in everyday work and will reduce the number of wrong decisions that could cause unfairness to all parties of the dilemma (ICAC, 2011, March). I believe that the team work  integrated within the strategy was of  a great benefit, as each of the diverse members of the team can apply the different set of backgrounds, skills, and opinions in the resolution which results into a more efficient outcome. Perhaps the only drawback of the technique is length i.e. seven weeks, but looking at the overall implementation of the technique the advantages far outweigh this disadvantage.


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