Year of entry: 2020
Course unit details:
Bioethics: Contemporary Issues in Science and Biomedicine
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Biological Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Should active euthanasia be prohibited? What makes life valuable? Should we be attempting to eradicate disability? Should we prohibit genetic modification or gene editing? Is it morally acceptable to use animals and humans for scientific research?
Bioethics identifies, defines and examines ethical questions raised by developments in biological and medical research, drawing on a range of disciplines in terms of approach, methodologies and knowledge.
The unit consists of focused, engaging and accessible online material, to guide you through a variety of, often controversial, bioethical questions, supported by informal discussion seminars.
The unit benefits from the exchange of ideas between students and teachers from different disciplines.
Students from the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, with the exception of Psychology, are not eligible to take this unit.
UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.
UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.
If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.
You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.
This unit is also available with a different course unit code. To take a UCIL unit you must choose the unit with a UCIL prefix.
To provide a stimulating, engaging and structured overview of ethical issues in the life sciences. To enable students to develop their knowledge of this area and their skills in analysis and critical thinking and enable them to explore these issues with confidence to come to a position on them that they can justify and defend convincingly.
On successful completion of the unit, you will be able to:
• Identify a range of contemporary ethical issues in science and biomedicine
• Identify approaches to present clear bioethical arguments and justify and defend the position taken on these issues
• Identify organisation and presentation skills to prepare and defend an argument
• Identify organisation and presentation skills to research and prepare an assessed reflective diary
Topics covered in previous years:
- Introduction to ethics and bioethics
- Doing bioethics skills of critical thinking and analysis
- What makes life valuable?
- The status of the embryo and implications for abortion
- Autonomy, consent and confidentiality
- Mental capacity and consent
- Ethical issues in pregnancy and reproduction
- Resource allocation
- Euthanasia and assisted dying
- Genetic storage and biobanks
- Consent and genomics
- Genetic manipulation and enhancement including GM crops
- Research ethics
Teaching and learning methods
The course consists of focused, engaging and accessible online material designed by bioethical experts to guide you through a variety of, often controversial, bioethical questions. Informal seminars support this online material and provide the opportunity to discuss these bioethical questions and develop your skills on analysis and critical thinking with the guidance of expertise in this area.
- Analytical skills
- Group video presentation and reflective diary require analysis of available information related to topic areas.
- Group/team working
- Group video presentation in teams of 7-10 students.
- Group video presentation is viewed by all participants in the unit and should be interesting. Reflective diary allows for both innovation and creativity
- Group video presentation will need people to demonstrate leadership to ensure that it is completed in an efficient and timely manner.
- Project management
- Group video presentation is a project undertaken over a period of weeks by a small group of students.
- Oral communication
- Students encouraged to ask and answer questions during lectures. Group video presentations.
- Problem solving
- Understanding information in relation to lecture and online material topics, presentation area and reflective diary require an ability to assimilate information and problem solve in the context of the question being asked.
- Group video presentation and reflective diary require independent research of topic areas.
- Written communication
- Reflective diary
|Written assignment (inc essay)||35%|
There will be feedback after the exam in week 4. There will be an opportunity to submit a practice 500 word reflective learning diary in week 4 of the unit for formative feedback. The oral presentation will receive peer evaluation, verbal generic feedback and written feedback on individual group performances. The final reflective learning diary will receive written feedback.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||0.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Caroline Bowsher||Unit coordinator|