What I’d Like My Students to Learn

I’m just past the end of Fall term, refining my plans for Spring.

I have, for the past few years, been teaching ethics through an approach called problem-based learning (PBL): students work in groups to sort through complex, concrete problem situations, in response to which I ask them to develop and consider the ethical implications of several distinct options.

I am in the throes of revising the design of my courses, moving toward what I can’t help but call PBL 2.0.

One of the things that turned me away from more conventional ways of teaching was the realization that, although I’ve long recognized that I am not training students for careers in academic philosophy, my course materials, lectures, and written assignments still bore the vestiges of such a training program.

The first thing I had to do, then, was to throw out my old list of learning outcomes for the course, and to develop a new list focused on the development of particular cognitive skills related to moral imagination. Continue reading