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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2000

Michael C. Loui
Pages 139-156

Fieldwork and Cooperative Learning in Professional Ethics

Many college and university courses are complemented by collaborative or cooperative activities such as role playing, team projects, or problem solving in small groups. This paper summarizes the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in professional ethics, describes two courses (Engineering Ethics and Professional Ethics) that involved a fieldwork component where students were required to interview a group of professional who deal with an ethical problem, and articulates the pedagogical value of complementing a course using a fieldwork assignment. By integrating a fieldwork assignment into philosophy courses, students are not only better able to connect classroom learning to concrete ethical problems associated with a given profession but also, since fieldwork is conducted in groups, acquire a deeper understanding of collective moral responsibility.

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