After teaching mostly theoretical ethics and narrowly focused applied ethics courses for a number of years, I'm now considering developing a syllabus for a course in "Social Ethics." The standard practice in such courses, and the approach I'm considering adopting, is to pick a number of different issues of social controversy such as abortion, sweatshop labor, etc., and have the students read articles 'pro' and 'con.'
Such a course seems to present a lot of opportunities for student involvement. The issues are interesting to them, and the readings tend to be more accessible than, say, Kant's Groundwork. But what's the best way to incorporate such involvement into the syllabus? One possibility is to structure the week so that we read a 'pro' article on Monday, a 'con' article on Wednesday, and then have some kind of student discussion or debate on Friday. Perhaps certain students can even be in charge of presenting the 'pro' and 'con' arguments on Monday and Wednesday.
I'm curious to hear what other people have tried in a course like this. What's worked well, and what hasn't? I'm especially interested in the question of how to get students involved in classroom activity in a pedagogically useful way, but as a secondary matter I'd also be interested in particular topics/articles that have worked well or poorly for you in such a course.
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