Integrating Ethics

From Thought to Action

"The topics in these modules are important because they focus on the issues every student faces in the freshman and sophomore years, when students are most in need of guidance"

As contextualized by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, the overall goal of these modules is to help "students choose right over wrong, and be responsible for the consequences of those choices. "To do so, students would need to develop a value system that enables them to recognize how they affect others, to consider the consequences of their acts, and to adopt a mature set of goals. This can be achieved with consistent reinforcement in education-at all levels of schooling.

Many professional fields already recognize the importance of ethics, and many pre-professional undergraduate majors already include this content. Thus business majors are studying business ethics, pre-meds study medical ethics, science majors study research ethics, and political science and pre-law students study legal ethics (including international law and human rights). We will not focus on these ethics courses, as they are already well established.

These modules are intended to be used mostly in the first two years of college, in the core courses, many of which are typically taken before the major is declared. These are introductory topics on ethical perspectives that would be completed before the ethics course included in their major. In that regard, they could be considered valuable preparation for a course in ethics for their major. Besides laying the foundations for appreciating the importance of ethics for decisions they must make, the topics in these modules are important because they focus on the issues every student faces in the freshman and sohphomore years, when students are most in need of guidance.





Learning Theory

The instructional design of the modules is primarily based on “The 5 E’s of Constructivism,” a methodology for developing significant learning experiences and a process for articulating appropriate pedagogy. Constructivism is a teaching and learning strategy that draws on existing knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Within a constructivist approach, learners synthesize new understanding from prior learning and through experiences with new information.

To maintain consistency, each module will follow the “5 E’s” of constructivism as phases of learning to facilitate content, critical thinking and problem-solving:


Learners will begin each module with an interaction. An ethical situation will be presented.


Learners will actively explore connections to ethics, and will be provided with a common base of experiences to identify and develop ethical concepts, processes, and skills.



Learners will be introduced to formal terms, definitions, and explanations for ethical concepts, processes, skills, or behaviors.


Learners will develop deeper and broader understanding of major ethical concepts and new teaching strategies, and refine their knowledge.



Learners will reflect and assess their understanding of key concepts in the module, as well as a “call to action.”





Additional Features

There are additional features to aid faculty in their implementation of ethics into their classes. We were intentional in a modular design, so that faculty could download what they want, and to use it as the want. This includes:


Profiles in Ethics

These are short videos of people of various demographics narrating stories of ethical situations they were challenged by (and were or were not successful).


These are links to research, websites, organizations, online networks and handouts of materials/strategies utilized in modules. You are only limited by your imagination in how you want to integrate them into your class!



Community Blog

This is a space to continue the conversation, share further scenarios, and to develop communities of practice. We hope you will come back, share your success or challenges, and quite possibly, your own strategies and assignment ideas to use.


Would you like to see a feature added to these modules? Share your ideas!