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Ethics in the Classroom

Working in public forums or in health professions, it is critical to have an understanding of and road map for navigating ethical issues. While teaching courses in Human Physiology and Introductory Animal Biology, I introduce a module to discuss the importance of ethics in our personal and professional lives.


Students utilized the Rutland Model to identify ethical issues in case studies and “sticky situations”, analyze why a given situation may involve ethics, justify their responses to the issue, and ultimately decide on their course of action if presented with the same issue in their day-to-day lives.


These activities require students to think critically about plausible situations they may encounter in the work place while building on their current knowledge base from the course. Communication skills are enhanced through various group discussions, as well as through a written reflection on the scenarios. Overall, by adding this module to multiple courses students are able to apply the standard course material to more “real world” situations and have built a foundation to use ethical assessments in their future professions.


These activities allow students to become further invested in the material, and because there are often multiple correct answers to the situations proposed, students actively share their opinions and responses to the scenarios at hand.

Following these actives students should be able to:

        •Identify ethical issues

        •Use critical thinking to reason through ethical dilemmas

        •Recognize and communicate personal ethical values

Sample Classroom Workflow 

Instructor Resources


Case Study



Sample PowerPoint 

Introduction to Ethics

(Free to Modify)

Sample Ethics Assignment

"Sticky" Situations for Human Physiology related courses

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