Course Number: PHE 425
Course Title: Fundamental Bioethics

Instructor

Judith R. Babarsky, MA

Email: jbabarsky@holyapostles.edu | 1-540-338-5546 (home)

1. Course Description

This course studies the philosophical foundations for several ethical viewpoints concerning human life and the use of medical technologies, focusing primarily on the Catholic position rooted in personalistic principles. Topics covered include conscience and the crisis of authority; contemporary debates in modern bioethics drawn from topics addressing the beginning of life and end of life; as well as current challenges for Catholics and Catholic organizations in the political arena. Online and residential.

2. Envisioned Learning Outcomes

3. Course Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to the Course/Origins, Development & Definitions of Bioethics

View the Power Point Presentation for Week 1 under the Lessons Tab/Week 1

Readings

Assignments

  1. READ your syllabus!
  2. Make sure you understand ALL requirements for the course, especially deadlines! If you have any questions, ask them now rather than down the road.
  3. Familiarize yourself with Populi, your online learning platform.
  4. Post an introduction of yourself on the appropriate Populi page and upload a photo of yourself to your Populi Profile (Introduction Roster Discussions under Discussions tab).
  5. Post a 500-word reflection based on the readings on the appropriate Populi page (Week 1 Discussions, under Discussions tab). Answer the question: What are the origins of bioethics, how did it develop and how is the word “bioethics” defined?
  6. Respond to the post of one classmate (be sure to read the rubric below regarding responses)!

Week 2: Epistemological Justification, the Foundation of Bioethical Judgments, and Research Methodology in Bioethics

        Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignments Tab/Week 2

Readings

  1. Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 2: pp. 35-75

Assignments

  1. Answer the following question in a 500-word summary of this week’s reading: Briefly compare and contrast the various bioethical models. Post your summary in Week 2 on the Discussion Board.
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 3: Forms, Origins, and Meaning of Human Life

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignments Tab/Week 3

                Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 3: pp. 77-103

Assignments

Post a 500-word reflection in answer to the following questions: What is the “anthropic principle” and why is it important for a theory of bioethics? Post your reflection on the Discussion Board under Week 3.

                        Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 4: The Human Person and his Body

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignments Tab/Week 4

Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 4: pp. 105-149.

Assignments

Post a 500-word reflection in answer to the following questions: What is the “personalist concept of man” and why is it an appropriate foundation for a theory of bioethics? Post your reflection on the Discussion Board under Week 4.

Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 5: Bioethics and Its Principles

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignments Tab/Week 5

Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 5: pp. 151-200.                        

                        

        Your first short paper is due this week.

Written assignments should be double spaced, Times New Roman Font 12, five pages long. In addition to the five pages of text, there should be a title page and endnotes. In addition to your text, you may refer to documents of the Church (encyclicals, apostolic letters, etc.).

Discuss the Catholic conception of man and why a personalist philosophy is a good fit for the discipline of bioethics.

Email your papers to me at jbabarsky@holyapostles.edu as a WORD (e.g., .doc, .docx) or PDF (.pdf) file format. Any other formats will be unacceptable and you will not receive credit for your work.

Week 6: Bioethics and Medicine

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 6

Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 6: pp. 201-239.

Assignments

Take Quiz #1. This is a cumulative quiz of 50 questions covering material learned in Weeks 1 through 6. It is multiple choice, multiple answer, T/F, short answer and essay. It is an open book quiz. You will have one hour to complete the quiz.

Week 7: Bioethics, Genetics, and Prenatal Diagnosis

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 7

Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 8: pp. 297-371.

Assignments

  1. Discuss in 500 words or less the history of the field of genetics and the current ethical challenges.
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 8: Bioethics, Sexuality, and Human Procreation

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 8

Readings

  1. Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 9: pp. 373-417.

                Assignments

  1. Post a 500-word discussion addressing the following: What is the personalist vision of human sexuality and contrast it with the sexual revolution of modern times.
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 9: Bioethics and Abortion

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 9

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 10: pp. 419-474.

Watch (not required, but very interesting)

  1. Watch the following video on Planned Parenthood: MAAFA21

Assignments

  1. Post a 500-word summary of the arguments against procured abortion.
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 10: Bioethics and Human Fertilization Technologies

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 10

Readings

  1. Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 11: pp. 475-547.

                Assignments:

        Take Quiz #2. As with Quiz #1, Quiz #2 is also a cumulative quiz covering material learned in Weeks 7 through 10. It is multiple choice, multiple answer, T/F, short answer and essay. It is an open book quiz. You will have one hour to complete the quiz.

There is no writing assignment this week.

        

Week 11: Bioethics and Human Experimentation

        Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 11

Readings

                Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 13, pp. 581-623.

Your second short paper is due this week.

Follow the same instructions for the paper as in Week 5.

Discuss the various fertilization techniques from a personalist perspective, drawing on information from your text as well as from Catholic documents.

Email your papers to me at jbabarsky@holyapostles.edu as a WORD (e.g., .doc, .docx) or PDF (.pdf) file format. Any other formats will be unacceptable and you will not receive credit for your work.

Week 12: Bioethics and Organ Transplants

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 12

Readings

  1. Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 14: pp. 627-661.

Assignments

  1. Post a 500-word reflection the ethical considerations pertaining to organ transplantation.
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 13: Bioethics, Euthanasia, and Death with Dignity

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 13

Readings

  1. Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 15: pp. 663-716..

Assignments

  1. Post a 500-word reflection addressing the following question: What has led to the movement for PAS and euthanasia and what does the Church have to say about it?
  2. Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 14: Bioethics and Technology

Listen to the “Lecture” under the Assignment Tab/Week 14

Readings

Read Personalist Bioethics, Chapter 16: pp. 717-738.

Assignments

Post a 500-word reflection addressing the pros and cons of technology and the Church’s response.

Respond to the post of one classmate.

Week 15: FINAL EXAM

The Final Exam is comprehensive and covers material from the entire course. It will be the same general format as the quizzes with the addition of three essay questions. There will be 50 questions. It will be open book and you will have 2 hours to complete the exam.

        

4. COURSE REQUIREMENTS

5. REQUIREMENTS FOR DISCUSSION BOARD POSTINGS

Discussion Board Instructions:

Discussion Board postings are due each week (when they are assigned) no later than Saturday at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Your assignment should be posted in the appropriate location in the Populi Discussion Board as follows:

  1. Locate the Discussion Board tab at the top of your Populi page
  2. Drop the “Discussion Board” menu down from “All Discussions” to reveal the individual weekly assignments
  3. Open the appropriate week, click “Add a Lesson Discussion”, and post your assignment. Do not post your assignment as an attachment.

Penalties for late and/or incorrect placement of assignments are as follows:

  1. Posting 1 minute to 5 hours 59 minutes late will incur a 5 pt. penalty.
  2. 6 hours to 23 hours 59 minutes late will incur an additional 10 pt. total penalty.
  3. Each additional 24 hour period late will incur an additional 10 pt. penalty.

6. LESSONS TAB IN POPULI

7. REQUIRED READINGS and RESOURCES:

8. SUGGESTED READINGS and RESOURCES:

9. EVALUATION

(Basis of evaluation with explanation regarding the nature of the assignment and the percentage of the grade assigned to each item below). Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl).

GRADING SCALE:

A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 60-69; F 59 and below

Grading Rubric for the Written Assignments

0-29 pts.

Grade: F

Fail

30-59 pts.

Grade: F

Fail, Inadequate

60-69 pts.

Grade: D

Barely Adequate

70-79 pts.

Grades: C-, C, C+

Adequate

80-89 pts.

Grades: B-, B, B+

Good, Some Aspects Excellent

90-100 pts.

Grades: A, A-

Excellent in All Aspects

CONTENT

Absence of Understanding

Analysis shows no awareness of the discipline or its methodologies as they relate to the topic.

Lack of Understanding

Analysis seems to misunderstand some basic concepts of the discipline or lacks ability to articulate them.

Inadequate understanding

Analysis is sometimes unclear in understanding or articulating concepts of the discipline.

Adequate understanding

Analysis demonstrates an understanding of basic concepts of the discipline but could express them with greater clarity.

Solid Understanding

Analysis demonstrates a clear understanding and articulation of concepts with some sense of their wider implications.

Insightful understanding

Analysis clearly demonstrates an understanding and articulation of concepts of the discipline as they relate to the topic; highlights connections to other concepts; integrates concepts into wider contexts.

RESEARCH

Missing Research

Paper shows no evidence of research: citation of sources missing.

Inadequate research and/or documentation

Over-reliance on few sources; spotty documentation of facts in text; pattern of citation errors.

Weak research and/or documentation

Inadequate number or quality of sources; many facts not referenced; several errors in citation format.

Adequate research and documentation but needs improvement

Good choice of sources but could be improved with some additions or better selection; did not always cite sources; too many citation errors.

Solid research and documentation

A number of relevant scholarly sources revealing solid research; sources appropriately referenced in paper; only a few minor citation errors.

Excellent critical research and documentation

Critically selected and relevant scholarly sources demonstrating extensive, in-depth research; sources skillfully incorporated into paper at all necessary points; all citations follow standard bibliographic format.

WRITING & EXPRESSION

Incomplete writing

Analysis is only partially written or completely misses the topic.

Writing difficult to understand, serious improvement needed

Analysis fails to address the topic; confusing organization or development; little elaboration of position; insufficient control of sentence structure and vocabulary; unacceptable number of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Episodic writing, a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Analysis noticeably neglects or misinterprets the topic; simplistic or repetitive treatment, only partially-internalized; weak organization and development, some meandering; simple sentences, below-level diction; distracting errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.

Acceptable writing, but could use some sharpening of skill

Analysis is an uneven response to parts of the topic; somewhat conventional treatment; satisfactory organization, but more development needed; adequate syntax and diction, but could use more vigor; overall control of grammar, mechanics, and usage, but some errors.

Solid writing, with something interesting to say.

Analysis is an adequate response to the topic; some depth and complexity in treatment; persuasive organization and development, with suitable reasons and examples; level-appropriate syntax and diction; mastery of grammar, mechanics, and usage, with hardly any error.

Command-level writing, making a clear impression

Analysis is a thorough response to the topic; thoughtful and insightful examination of issues; compelling organization and development; superior syntax and diction; error-free grammar, mechanics, and usage.

COMMUNITY INTERACTION (50-word response)

Inadequate response

Response merely provides laudatory encouragement for original post, e.g., “Excellent post! You really have thought of something there.”

Poor response

Response misses the point of the original posting.

Weak response

Response summarizes original posting to which it responds.

Acceptable response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds.

Individually-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the posting to which it responds and fosters its development.

Community-conscious contributory response

Response makes a contribution to the learning community and fosters its development.

10. DISABILITIES ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.


11. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.

12. ATTENDANCE POLICY

Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required to be in class 3 hours a week and prepare for class discussions 4.5 hours a week. Expect to devote at least 7.5 quality hours a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.

13. INCOMPLETE POLICY

An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.

14. ABOUT YOUR PROFESSOR

I graduated from the International School of Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand during the height of the Vietnamese War. This experience taught me to appreciate different cultures and belief systems. I went on to Wellesley College and Virginia Tech where I earned a B.S. in Sociology and then on to graduate work at Radford University, earning an M.S. in Clinical Psychology with post-Master’s coursework at George Mason University. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and have had a private practice for the past 20+ years.

I am a convert to the Roman Catholic Church and a graduate of Holy Apostles College and Seminary with an M.A. in Theology and a specialization in Bioethics. I completed the National Catholic Bioethics Center Certification (with Distinction) in Health Care Ethics. I have a strong commitment to and interest in issues of Social Justice.

My husband and I reside in Virginia where we are active in our local parish. Our children are all grown with varying levels of independence, the youngest being 25 years old. We have two Rat Terriers that are loved and spoiled. Both my husband and myself enjoy travel, especially foreign travel. Some of our closest friends are those we have met through our travels and continue to visit with regularity in France, Germany and Portugal. We also have Italian family in Cittanova, Calabria, Italy.

In our spare time we hike and bike (we’ve hiked the down and back to Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon 7 times). We both love meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and entertaining at home.

You may connect with me Twitter @jbabarsky.

This syllabus is subject to change over time at the discretion of the course professor.