Media Ethics at Marianopolis/NewsActivist at Champlain

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Media Ethics at Marianopolis/NewsActivist at Champlain

Gabe and I have planned a series of comments back and forth; however, I am posting planned activities here so that people can look for possible matches. Thus, without further ado, here's what my 3 sections of Media Ethics (105 students) will be doing in Winter 2014:



ORIGINAL POST 1: Explaining a Moral Dilemma in Your Field

DUE:   February 5 / February 9


Choose a moral dilemma faced by professionals working in your field of study and then discuss how best that dilemma might be resolved. This analysis should be roughly 500 words in length. It should be written and saved in Microsoft Office or Libre Office, and then uploaded to by copying and pasting the document over when you are done (this is to prevent the loss of work should there be an issue with your internet connection or the website itself).

  • Your post should have a short, catchy, and descriptive title that tells potential readers what you will be talking about.
  • Posts should describe the moral dilemma, discuss whether deontological or teleological ethics are being applied and how, and propose a solution.
  • Students should use the Merrill and Deigh readings in their course pack to help them understand the moral dilemma and correctly to apply either a deontological or teleological framework.
  • Examples of the types of moral dilemmas that you might wish to consider include but are not limited to: abortion, euthanasia, the legalization of marijuana, immigration, The Onion Router (TOR), and more.

To upload your post, choose "create content", and then "article." When it asks you what kind of article you want to create, choose "editorial."

  • PLEASE NOTE: When uploading the article, do not click "friends only" unless you want the post to be invisible to the internet! Lower down the page, there will be a bar called "group content visibility". Click that and set it to "public".
  • If you would like the post to remain invisible to everyone other than me, then choose "friends only" and add the user sarahwaurechen

You must MIO me a link to your post to confirm that you have finished the assignment.



COMMENT 1:  Bringing the Moral Dilemma To Light

DUE:   March 17 / March 18

Choose a post from the Newsactivist course at Champlain College that was posted after February 1 that is of interest to you and in which you can identify a moral dilemma. If you cannot find a post from that class, then search the website for other posts that are of interest.

Once you have selected a post, either (a) leave a comment explaining the different ways that one might approach the issue and which path you believe is ultimately the correct one or (b) identify what type of philosophical approach the student seems to intuitively be using and take the opportunity to teach that student a little more about rationalism, utilitarianism, or one of the other moral system we have encountered.

 Below are a few things to remember:

  • One should always begin by saying something positive about the post (eg: “I wasn’t aware of this issue before reading your post and found it very interesting…”)
  • The second part of your comment should offer critical feedback explaining that you have identified an important ethical issue that you believe requires further thought or teaching the student about the different ways one might construct a moral system
  • Comments should be roughly 200 words

When you are done, MIO me a link to your comment

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are automatically made public. Thus, if you are uncomfortable sharing your thoughts, you must MIO me a link to the post that you chose and include your comment as part of the MIO.



ORIGINAL POST 2: Where Media Ethics and Your Program of Study Intersect

DUE: March 31 / April 1


Write 750-1000 words explaining how media ethics is related to your particular program of study. In order to complete this task, you should respond to one of the following questions: 

  1. Are the representations of [insert program-specific issue of your choosing here] in the media ethical?
  2. Does [insert program-specific sector here] influence the media in ethically troubling ways?
  3. What is the most important ethical issue raised by the social media tag/hashtag [insert tag/hashtag that pertains to something related to your program of study here] and why?
  4. A question of your choosing that relates media ethics and your program of study and which has more than one possible answer (original questions must be approved by your teacher).

To answer the question, begin by summarizing a media source of your choosing that you believe is representative of the moral dilemma in question.

  • How does this look in practice? If you are in the Science program and interested in biology, then you might want to ask: does the news media represent the euthanasia debates in an ethical way; or, is the representation of forensic technology as hyper-advanced and foolproof in modern crime dramas ethical? If this is the case, you should choose a news article contributing to the euthanasia debate or an episode of a crime drama respectively.
  • If you are in the Social Science program and interested in politics, you might want to ask: does the government have too much influence over the media in Canada; or, what is the most important ethical issue raised by #harperhistory/#obamacare/#bringbackourgirls and why? If this is the case you would summarize a news article about cuts to CBC funding, or  explain what type of tweets you’re talking about.
  • You must provide a link to the news article, Twitter feed, etc… in question as part of your post. If you are talking about a movie or TV show, a link should be provided to an IMDB or Wikipedia entry that will provide your reader with more information about the production in question.

Follow the steps outlined in Original Post 1 for uploading.



COMMENT 2:  Bringing the Moral Dilemma To Light

DUE:  May 4 / May 5

Comments are to be made on either the Newsactivist Class at Champlain College, St. Lambert or the Ethics Class at Champlain St. Lambert (both taught by Gabe Flacks).

If you choose to comment on the Newsactivist Class, write roughly 200 words on any post written since April explaining a moral framework that might help shed light on the how society could approach the issue in question in such a way as to build a better world.

If you choose to comment on the Ethics class, choose a paper abstract written by one of the students (these abstracts explain what students have researched and written about for their final term papers). Your comment should be roughly 200 words and should either substantially support or significantly challenge the thesis put forward by the student in their abstract.

Remember, it is important that you begin with positive feedback.  After this, you should offer some substantial commentary that will help the student learn more about an issue or a moral philosophy.

Possible comment two date change?

Hi Sarah,
Looking at my calendar, I would like to have student submit the posts most interesting for your "comment 2" assignment to be due on May 8- can you assign your classes the commenting assignment at that time, later than indicated above?


Hi Gabe,

Unfortunately May 8 is the end of term and my students are writing exams May 6-8. Also, my syllabi and assignment lists have already been distributed :( So I can make minor changes, but nothing large like dates or scale. If you want, I can direct them to comment more generally instead of on the abstracts, but that's about all I can do at this point in time.


All ok

No problem with keeping things as they are. The ethics class will have submitted abstracts in time, but the final projects in my complementary newsactivist course will not have been submitted until the 8th; I thought that might have been interesting for your class to see. However, there will be plenty across both sections already posted to be of interest to your class.

Thanks for clarifying how your school's policies keep things rigid in terms of schedule! I'll keep it in my mind.

Possible collaboration

I have 14 ( yes... 14) intermediate-advanced English second language students registered to anglais adapté technique level 4. Your moral dilemma theme seems to fit well with my class content. Any chance we can join your team?

All Welcome

Hi Lisa,

Unfortunately, as I told Gabe, I've already distributed my syllabus so can no longer add/change stuff, but you're welcome to hop on board and get your students commenting. I will let them know to keep an eye out and tell them to consider your class (if you give me the details) for leaving comments as well.


Slight Date Change

Greetings to anyone waiting for the first posts from my students. This is just a warning that my school had an unexpected closure, so 2 of my 3 sections are delayed in their posts by just a few days. It's all still coming, but there will be a slight time-lag! Looking forward to the great conversations,