Module Roadmap: How to find your way around the HM 546 Ethics Module and this Website

Welcome to HM 546 (SCCD course) and the Ethics Module! This page of the website is designed to help you get oriented to the materials you will need to complete the module successfully. The specific course requirements for grading and course policies are available elsewhere on this site.

Where To Find Stuff

Materials you need for this module can be found in four places:

This website

The required course text: Bernard Lo, Resolving Ethical Dilemmas, 3rd ed.

The required coursepack available for purchase

The ANGEL site for the course

The website is designed to have as much as possible of the module materials right here. The required readings for the module will usually be in one of three places:

On the website-- this may be as a "fast take" (a quick summary of a reading) or as a hyperlink to the complete text of a reading if the text is available on-line. NOTE: If there is no hyperlink to the complete text, that text should appear on the ANGEL site for this course as a PDF file, so that you can always access the complete text of any article that you wish.

In the textbook

Photocopied in your coursepack. We have tried to include as much as possible from this website in the coursepack, so that you have a choice of reading material on line or in hard copy.

In general, recommended or supplementary readings for the module will be found in one of two places:

On the website, again either as a "fast take" or else as a hyperlink

On the ANGEL site, as "pdf" files

There are also two copies of the textbook available in the Echt Center.

For each week of the module, there is a web page of syllabus, labeled "Week 1," "Week 2," etc. (well, duh.) From the website home page, click on "Module Syllabus" and then on the Week you want. Each Week's syllabus page has pretty much the same sub-pages so that you should be able to get used to the organization easily. The page "Assigned Readings" is your key to where to find what you need to read for that week. It should be clear from the Assigned Readings page, plus what we said just above, where anything is. If something is in an unusual place-- such as a recommended reading that can be found in the coursepack--it should be clearly labeled as such on the Assigned Readings page.

How To Get Ready at the Start of the Module

Your big decision is: are you a screen type person or a paper type person? Screenies can work through this entire module (except of course for the old-fashioned textbook and coursepack) on the website. Paperites can read much of what is in this website in the coursepack; or they can print off the pages they need from the website and refer to those as needed. Of course paperites will be at a slight disadvantage because the hyperlinks don't work on paper and so you may need to go back to the on-line site to get various pages that are linked to the main pages. 

At the start of the module, or at least before you write any of the assigned essays, please review the evaluation policy, essay evaluation form, general suggestions for writing essays, and sample essays.

What To Do Each Week

The module deals with a different topic each week. Your main goal is to have a great in-class discussion of the topic that leaves you with a deeper understanding of the ethical issues of the week--both the views that you happen to agree with, and also the ethical points of view that you don't agree with but that rational people might hold (see Module objectives). The goal of your preparatory work is to arrive in class ready to have an informed and thoughtful discussion.

First, check out the Assigned Readings page for the week and see what you have to cover.

Next, decide how you want to get a general overview of the topic for the week, so that the readings will all make the most sense to you. There are two ways to do this. For each week (after Week 1), the module syllabus includes an Introductory Essay. This essay is written by one of the module faculty and is designed to give you the big picture and to place the readings in context. Glance at one or two of these and see if the style and content is a good match for your preferred learning mode.

The other way to get a general overview of the topic is to read the relevant chapters in the required textbook (Lo). We picked the Lo book precisely because it seemed to us to provide such an overview. If you find that you like the way Lo presents the material, you don't have to read the Introductory Essay and can rely solely on Lo for your overview. If you decide instead to read the Introductory Essay, that should allow you to skim over Lo that much faster. Or of course you can read both, or mix and match.

After you get the general sense of what the ethical issues are for that week's discussion, then proceed to the list of Assigned Readings and read each of them to get the further details and nuances you'll need to have the best possible group discussion. We have tried whenever possible to streamline your reading by the "fast take" summaries, but of course, if you are to appreciate the real ethical issues, you need to read materials by authors who favor different moral points of view. We have tried to strike the best balance between overwhelming you with reading material on one extreme, and forcing only one point of view down your throat on the other. Lo, in our view, almost always gives a reasonably balanced synopsis of the major arguments on different sides of an issue.

Now you are ready to dive into the group discussion. To have a reasonable structure by which to proceed, each week's syllabus has a set of Discussion Questions. The use of these questions is up to you and your small group preceptor. So long as you cover the material and meet the course objectives, you can follow the list of Discussion Questions very closely or throw them out the window. In past years, almost all preceptors (and groups of students) have found it easier to get ready and to have a good discussion if the group more or less follows the Discussion Questions. Unless your group decides to do otherwise, please read over the Discussion Questions before you come to class. Some groups decide to pick one student to kick off the group discussion of each question, in which case you should especially focus on your assigned question, but still glance over the others and consider what you would say in response.

To be sure that our faculty don't feel too stupid, we have always prepared a Group Leader's Guide to go along with the Discussion Questions. We have a general policy of not hiding stuff from the students so we posted this leader's guide to the website as well. You may read it or not, it is purely optional. Your preceptor will have read it and may or may not use it as a guide to how to organize the class discussion.

Finally for the gunners among you each week also has a page of Web Links that you can use to find out more about the topic of the week. There is also a general page of web links for use in relation to the entire course, helping you to locate medical ethics materials on line.