Your instructor: Karin Ellison
Ellison's research, teaching and program development activities cover the areas of research ethics, ethics education development and the history of American science and technology. As director of the Life Science Ethics Program with the School of Life Sciences, she coordinates opportunities for students, faculty and staff to learn about and reflect on the ethical dimensions of advances in the life sciences and life science research.
Working with colleagues at University of Virginia and Illinois Institute of Technology on a National Science Foundation-sponsored project, Ellison is leading enhancement of the Online Ethics Center. Ellison also fosters graduate education as associate director of the Center for Biology and Society at ASU.
How you’ll learn
Through background readings and videos, you’ll address two topics in ethics each week. Study questions, quizzes and discussions aim to help you remember, understand and apply the information in the assigned readings and other learning materials.
“There are lots of discussion boards and lots of opportunities for the students to interact because ethics isn't me telling them the right thing to do. It's them as scientists and the scientific community coming to an understanding of what that is,” Ellison said.
You’ll also participate in discussions with your peers and teaching team, covering real and hypothetical cases that tie broad ethical considerations to scientists’ concerns.
What makes this course special
Ellison finds that students usually enjoy this class because it enables them to step back and think about science in a big picture way. The course addresses those bigger picture questions about the ethics of innovation and development in biology and how that relates to the larger society, known as macro ethics.
“The class is an important part of biology because of our need to build science as a trustworthy enterprise,” said Ellison. “This is an opportunity for students to build their critical thinking in this space.”
What you’ll get out of BIO 610
BIO 610 helps you develop basic ethics skills, including the awareness of different ethical issues and recognition of scientific norms.
Through completing this course, you’ll broaden your skill set in a range of areas, such as spotting ethical dilemmas in research, identifying the norms, policies and regulations that speak to those ethical dilemmas and using problem solving skills to generate and select options for action in the face of such dilemmas.
“I hope when my students finish this class, they see work as a terrain where there are value choices and they recognize places where they're making value choices,” said Ellison.