Teaching Geoethics Across the Geoscience Curriculum
- A brief overview of resources available.
- An introduction to ethical principles that could be explored in class discussions.
- A series of interactive examples of "two-minute" ethical challenges so participants can a) explore the ethical issues, and b) consider how and where they could teach Geoethics in their own courses.
Geoethics is an important part of students' pre-professional training, but is typically not formally included in a degree program in a dedicated course or embedded in existing courses. This demonstration will introduce resources available for teaching Geoethics, basic principles that can be introduced (e.g., responsible conduct of research, responsibilities of using and communicating geoscience to the community, stewardship of Earth), and suggested instructional methods. A series of interactive "two minute" ethical challenges and case studies will demonstrate how Geoethics can be effectively taught in all geoscience classrooms.
I have used case studies on Geoethics as the basis for an introductory course that demonstrated the relationship of geoscience to issues that impact the community, and as modules in required courses for majors to help students anticipate and prepare for ethical dilemmas they may encounter in their careers.
Why It Works
These activities engage students in a series of discussions that require that they understand underlying scientific principles of a situation, the conduct of science, and larger contexts of who the stakeholders are, who was impacted, what the consequences are, personal and professional responsibilities, and what actions should be taken. Exploration of these case studies has generated a lot of student interest, motivated continued learning, and has provided a mechanism for students to reflect on their own understanding and responsibilities.