Ethical Dilemmas in the Biology Undergraduate Classroom: Role-Playing Congressional Testimony †
Author(s)Wiles, Amy M.
KeywordsInstructional Approaches to Ethics
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AbstractStudents often struggle with weighing multiple sides of bioethical dilemmas. The assignment described here incorporates discussion of ethical dilemmas in an upper-level undergraduate biology course. Students are introduced to ethical dilemmas in genetics through discussion of issues in small groups. They are then polled as to what positions they take on each dilemma and are assigned to argue a side opposite of one of their choices. Each student receives a subpoena to appear before a Senate subcommittee to give testimony as an expert witness. This role-play provides students with a starting point and motivation for developing their argument as well as a way to distance themselves from their own opinions by acting as someone holding the opposite stance. At the end of the presentations, students are required to reflect on the experience.