Navigating Bioethical Waters: Two Pilot Projects in Problem-Based Learning for Future Bioscience and Biotechnology Professionals

TitleNavigating Bioethical Waters: Two Pilot Projects in Problem-Based Learning for Future Bioscience and Biotechnology Professionals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBerry, R, Levine, A, Kirkman, R, Blake, L, Drake, M
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsBIOETHICS , BIOTECHNOLOGY , ethics , Fractious , LIFE , Navigational , Problem-Based , professional
AbstractWe believe that the professional responsibility of bioscience and biotechnology professionals includes a social responsibility to contribute to the resolution of ethically fraught policy problems generated by their work. It follows that educators have a professional responsibility to prepare future professionals to discharge this responsibility. This essay discusses two pilot projects in ethics pedagogy focused on particularly challenging policy problems, which we call 'fractious problems'. The projects aimed to advance future professionals' acquisition of 'fractious problem navigational' skills, a set of skills designed to enable broad and deep understanding of fractious problems and the design of good policy resolutions for them. A secondary objective was to enhance future professionals' motivation to apply these skills to help their communities resolve these problems. The projects employed 'problem based learning' courses to advance these learning objectives. A new assessment instrument, 'Skills for Science/Engineering Ethics Test' (SkillSET), was designed and administered to measure the success of the courses in doing so. This essay first discusses the rationale for the pilot projects, and then describes the design of the pilot courses and presents the results of our assessment using SkillSET in the first pilot project and the revised SkillSET 2.0 in the second pilot project. The essay concludes with discussion of observations and results. 
NotesBerry, Roberta 1; Email Address: Levine, Aaron 2; Email Address: Kirkman, Robert 2; Email Address: Blake, Laura 3; Email Address: Drake, Matthew 4; Email Address:; Affiliation: 1: Georgia Tech Honors Program , Georgia Institute of Technology , Armstrong, Room 005 Atlanta 30332-0755 USA 2: School of Public Policy , Georgia Institute of Technology , 685 Cherry Street Atlanta 30332-0345 USA 3: Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Office of Institutional Research , Harvey Mudd College , 301 Platt Boulevard Claremont 91711-5901 USA 4: Palumbo Donahue School of Business , Duquesne University , 600 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh 15282-3016 USA; Source Info: Dec2016, Vol. 22 Issue 6, p1649; Subject Term: Bioethics; Subject Term: Problem-based learning; Subject Term: Life sciences; Subject Term: Biotechnology; Subject Term: Professional education; Author-Supplied Keyword: Ethics assessment; Author-Supplied Keyword: Ethics education; Author-Supplied Keyword: Fractious problems; Author-Supplied Keyword: Navigational approach; Author-Supplied Keyword: Problem-based learning (PBL); NAICS/Industry Codes: 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); NAICS/Industry Codes: 541711 Research and Development in Biotechnology; NAICS/Industry Codes: 611430 Professional and Management Development Training; NAICS/Industry Codes: 611310 Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; Number of Pages: 19p; Document Type: Article