Medical Ethics

An ONLINE Course





  1. Tests of Preparedness for Online Courses

  2. Course Description

  3. Sample Weekly Schedule

  4. Contact Information

  5. The 10 Myths About Online Education.

  6. Welcome to the current semester

Student Reviews
Fall 2002  

1.Tests of Preparedness for taking Online Courses

You might want to go to the sites below and read about online courses and take the tests to determine how prepared you are to take online courses.

VIDEO >>>: Is an Online Class for you?


2. Course Description

SS640 Medical Ethics

A consideration of the ethical implications of modern medical research and practice. Topics include professional versus universal ethics, the rights of patients, genetic engineering, truth and information in medicine, the concept of mental illness, experimentation on human subjects and public health policy.   

All work in this course is conducted online through computers and the internet.  There are NO class meetings with the professor..



To enable a student to:

  • Identify and comprehend traditional and current issues in Biomedical Ethics;

  • Define the main areas of ethical discourse;

  • Discuss theories of ethics: teleological and deontological

  • Develop skills of critical ethical analysis of contemporary moral problems in medicine and health care.

  • Analyze and respond to the comments of other students regarding philosophical issues.



The course is divided into 14 Modules or weeks.

The following learning activities apply to each module:

1. Read the assigned textbook material.

2. Respond to discussion questions submitted by the instructor. At least once in each discussion forum in the module.

3. Create and submit a discussion question about the material. At least one in each module-a student led discussion.

4. Respond publicly to some or all of the questions submitted by other students.

5. Reply to students who respond to your question and responses. 


Virtual Seminars/Discussions

In every module you will find a "Virtual Seminar." A virtual seminar is like a class discussion. Here, for each module and topic, you are expected to reply to questions from the instructor, you will ask a "critical thinking" question about some topic in the chapter, get responses from other students, and reply to those responses. Here too, you will answer the questions posed by other students, and they will reply to your answers. You are welcome to keep up this "virtual discussion" as long as you wish. The idea here is for each student to join in and to lead a discussion with the other students about some important issue introduced in the chapter.

This is the heart of this course as far as your instructor is concerned. It is here that the process of philosophy will be in evidence. It is here that you get an opportunity to DO PHILOSOPHY. This is the component of this online course that fosters the dialectical process of inquiry that is the heart of Philosophy. 


Upon completion of each module there is a short essay question. These questions are my way of testing your understanding of the texts and Virtual Seminar/Discussions for that module. You will know what the questions or topics are at the start of each module. You should post your essays during the 2-day "window" that is established for submissions, not before. Unlike your responses to the discussion questions posed by me and the other students, you will submit your essays just to me, not to the whole class. You need to consider these essays as "take-home, open-book essay exams", which require well-organized, thorough responses. 

Talk with the Professor

In each module there is a "Talk with the Professor" area. Here I will ask questions which each student should respond to. Also, you may ask me questions, which I will respond to. Most often, I expect these questions (mine and yours) will be related to the discussions or the textbook - but nothing is "off-limits." 

Ask a Question

Most documents you will be reading On-Line have a "Ask a Question" button at the bottom of the page. When you use this button, it creates a discussion thread that the professor and other students can participate in. It is the equivalent of "raising your hand" in the classroom. 


You may ask me a private question at any time using my email. Treat E-mail as a private office visit. I welcome your comments and feedback, too.

Glossary: Use these links on key words to get to internal link to glossary to get basic definitions of terms.


1. Class Participation & Discussion: 42%

2. Critical Analysis Essays (Papers) : 42%

3. Case Studies: 8%   

4. Group Project:  8%


a. There is a required textbook for this course: 


7th ED.,Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2003.

Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics
by Ronald Munson

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The course covers most of the chapters of this text.

b. The other readings are the lessons and students contributions to the class in the discussion areas and the professor's contributions to those discussions. 

 WORKLOAD: In a fifteen-week semester (Spring and Fall) the workload for this course would be 9 to 12 hours per week.  This includes all the reading, writing, and dialogue with your instructor and fellow students. 

In the SUMMER SESSION with only 8 weeks from May 29th to July 23rd the workload in effect is double that of the regular 15-week semester.  It requires 18 to 24 hours per week to successfully complete this online course. 

This requires a serious commitment on the part of the learner.  You can access the course at any time from any computer with an Internet connection.  However, you must put in the effort, the labor, the work needed to meet the course requirements and obtain a passing grade. 

The course can prove to be a lot of fun for those who take it seriously and keep up with the workload.  For those who are unable to put in the time and fall behind the course could prove to be quite horrible.