Religious studies Research paper Assignment on One issue in Bioethics

W  A  S  H  I  N  G  T  O  N       A  D  V  E  N  T  I  S  T       U  N  I  V  E  R  S  I  T  Y                                                                                             INTD 315 ETHICS IN MODERN SOCIETY

Spring 2021 • School of Graduate and Professional Studies (3 credit hours) •


      Course Title:           ETHICS IN MODERN SOCIETY

Course Number:                       INTD 315 (online)

Academic Session:           January 11 – March 1, 2021

Site:  Online 

Pre-requisites             :           None

Co-requisites              :           None

Credits                        :           3 (three)

Hours of Contact        :           online; equivalent to 45 hours in-class contact

Classroom                   :           –

Consultations             :           By appointment through email

Schedule                     :          



Name                          :          

Office                          :          

Office Hours               :          

Telephone Numbers  :          

E-mail                          :         


-This course follows a self-paced online format. No meetings on campus will be required. In Learning House, you will access online lessons, course materials, and resources. Everyone works individually, though we stay together in meeting assignment deadlines and taking exams within the specified time frames.

– You must complete the course

– Contact the instructor immediately if you may have a stricter deadline imposed by graduation, financial aid, or other restrictions.

-Instructor contact:

-It is important to remember that while the Internet is available 24 hours a day, your instructor is not. You can expect that your instructor will respond to an e-mail message to you within 1-2 business days during the week and may not be available to respond on weekends.


The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity to students to realize how our values not only drive ethical behavior but also ethical decisions. It also provides students with opportunities to examine ethical values, critically assess them, and hopefully make informed decisions. The course focuses primarily on personal ethics, bioethics, and business ethics and examines ethics against the backdrop of religious traditions

  1. GOAL

This course is designed to help the students to

  1. Familiarize with and understand various ethical concepts and terms.
  2. Identify ethical principles and begin to apply them to selected ethical issues and conundrums confronting Christians and non-Christians in modern society.
  3. Be exposed to the different approaches taken by Christians and non-Christians in dealing with ethical matters and the many positions held on various ethical matters.
  4. Be equipped to make wise choices based on rational thinking and rooted in biblical principles.
  5. Identify and apply broad biblical principles in dealing with ethical issues not specifically addressed in Scripture.
  6. Teach students respect for diversity of opinion on ethical issues.
  7. Explore bioethical issues and issues in business ethics in the context of Christian beliefs and practices.

This course covers a brief history of western ethical philosophical systems and gives a brief overview of modern ethical systems. Two categories of ethical systems are analyzed: deontological and teleological systems. Issues such as abortion, reproductive technology, sexual ethics, euthanasia are also examined. Special emphasis is on bioethics and business ethics.

The following is a tentative schedule of class topics:

  1. Introduction to ethics
  2. A brief history of ethics
  3. Ethical theories
  4. Ethics and scripture/Christian faith
  5. Ethics and world religions
  6. Practical ethics
  7. Bioethics [background and foundations]
  8. Abortion
  9. Euthanasia
  10. Reproductive ethics/genetic issues
  11. Business ethics [major principles]
  12. Other practical issues [sexual ethics, capital punishment, ethics of war and terrorism, environmental ethics, gun control, discrimination, and diversity, etc.

By the end of this course, students will hopefully be enabled to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. Critically assess the moral choices that people make and understand why people make them.
  2. Understand the source and permanence of moral values.
  3. Become acquainted with the literature of ethics and values.
  4. Become acquainted with different categories of ethics and the ultimate source of moral authority
  5. Become aware of the great controversy between good and evil, right and wrong, and become more and more sensitive to the implications of the value-neutral approach.

Methods of instruction include assigned readings from the textbooks and the course material, reflections on the reading from the textbooks (reading reports), interaction with the classmates/instructor via blogs, 1 research project, weekly tests, and the final exam. Regular participation in the course is essential to good performance. The following chart shows the approximate hours to be spent per each assignment for the entire academic session.





Weekly reading assignments and reading reports


Weekly discussion blog


Research paper


Weekly Quizzes


Final Exam


Total hours



Internet connection (DSL, LAN, or cable connection desirable)


This course is delivered online D2L.


Required Textbooks

Rae, Scott B. Moral Choices, an Introduction to Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018. (This textbook is required for all students.) 4th edition. The ISBN number is 978-0-310-53642-0 (hardcover)

ISBN 978-0-310-53643-7 (e-book)

Munson, Ronald. Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Bioethics, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 10th edition (2017). Student edition: ISBN: 978-1-305-50840-8. Or loose-leaf edition: ISBN: 978-1-305-94941-6. (This textbook is required for the students of biology, medical sciences, nursing, sciences, ethics, religion, philosophy, and political studies.)

Rae, Scott B., and Kenman L. Wong, Beyond Integrity, Zondervan, 2011. (This textbook is required for the students of business, economics, social work, and computer sciences.)

Additional reading useful for research/papers, but not required:

  • Forell, George W. Christian Social Teachings, Readings in Christian Social Ethics, Fortress Press, 2012.
  • Shaffer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Stassen, Glen H. and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, IVP Academic, 2002.
  • Vaughn, Lewis. Doing Ethics: Moral Reasoning and Contemporary Issues, W.W. Norton and Company, 2016 (latest edition).
  • Wilkens, Steve. Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics: An Introduction to Theories of Right and Wrong Downers Grove, IL. Inter Varsity Press, 1995.
  1. Weekly Reading Reports:
  • Students will read and write a reading report on 1 chapter from each of the two required textbooks every week (please, see the Required Textbooks in section XI of this syllabus). Due dates for the submission of reading reports are January 10, 17, 24, 31, and February 7, 14, 21, and 28. Reading reports must be submitted on time on the designated days. The following are the guidelines for writing the reading reports:
  • Write a half-page single-space summary in your own words. For example, What is the main topic/subject of the chapter? What appeared to you as most important and relevant in the chapter?
  • Write a half-page single-space reflection that will present your personal opinion about the subject which is treated in the chapter. For example, Did you enjoy reading the chapter, and why? What did you like most about it? Is there something that you did not like, and why? Is something that you read in the chapter familiar to your culture, faith, personal experience? Is there something that you learned from the chapter that can be used in everyday life?
  • The whole report should be 1 single-spaced page long maximum (1/2 page summary + 1/2 page reflection) per assigned chapter. Since there are two assigned chapters (one from each of the two textbooks) per week, it means that the weekly reading report will consist of two pages (one page for each chapter).
  • Before submitting the report, do not forget to write down your full name, and the title and pages of the textbook on which the report is written.
  1. Research Paper:

Students will choose one issue in bioethics or business ethics and write a 10 to 12 pages long research paper. The research will consist of presenting and critically assessing the chosen topic and evaluating, at least, two practical examples

The research paper is due

The details about the research paper are shared in the following rubrics:


A relevant topic in bioethics or business is chosen. (1 point)


-Identifies the various ethical aspects of the topic

-Analyzes, at least, two practical examples

-Relates the topic to the theories and principles studied in the class

-Discusses the potential challenges resulting from real-life ethical dilemmas and points toward solutions that are suggested in scholarly resources.

-Compares to Christian worldview and principles

(7 points)

Positive and negative critique

-Shows critical thinking in assessing the strong and weak points of relevant ethical theories applicable to the chosen topic

-Suggests new possible avenues for understanding and solving the practical challenges of the chosen topic (5 points)

Biblical evaluation

-Compares to biblical principles in a clear and objective manner

-Critically asses the topic in the light of biblical revelation

(5 points)


-Makes clear and relevant practical application of analysis and principles discussed in the paper to modern day life situations. (2 points)

Language and Style

-The paper contains no serious errors in grammar, spelling or mechanics.

-Single format (Kate Turabian / Nancy Vyhmester System (Nancy W. Vyhmeister, Quality Research Papers, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2007) is used for in-text and bibliographic references to external resources.

-Font: size 12, Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri

-Line spacing: double

-Front page must contain the title of the paper, the student’s full name and ID#, and date of submission.

(1 point)

Number of pages

7-10 pages

The front page and the page with the bibliography do not count in the total number of 7-10 pages. (1 point)


Contains the minimum of 5 relevant books and peer-reviewed articles.

(1 point)



  1. Weekly quizzes.

A short quiz is administered at the beginning of each week, starting with the second week of the course (January, 11, 18, 25, and February 1, 8, 15, and 22). There is no quiz on the last Monday of the course because the Final Exam is given on that day. The questions are designed to guide the student to reflect on the key concepts of the learning units from Scott Rae’s main text for the past week. The questions cover the material from the assigned readings for the past week. The questions will include multiple-choice, short essays, short answers, and/or true and false. Thoroughly study the assigned chapters throughout the week. Re-read them several times. First complete the Reading Report engaging the key concepts of the chapter, then do a Blog post.  This will prepare you for the Monday Quiz.  Quizzes must be completed without the assistance of books, notes, devices, or outside help. You are allowed 30 minutes to complete a quiz.

If a student cannot take the exam on the assigned day due to a personal emergency such as illness, the student must email the Instructor with the reasons he/she cannot meet this deadline and documentation that supports them. Whether an alternate time for writing the exam will be granted is left to the teacher’s discretion.

  1. Weekly discussion Blogs.

Make an initial post. Reflections are content-driven; the forum opens the floor for discussion on a more personal level. Remember to be respectful of others at all times in your interaction. The following will never be tolerated: foul language, put-downs, badgering, forcing someone to believe your way.

Since this is a self-paced class and you might not start at the same time with other people, you will be graded just on your initial post. The responses to other people (if possible) are encouraged but they are just for your own enrichment. The students are encouraged to leave a comment with reflections on the assigned chapters from the textbook, course material, and videos, at least, once a week.

Discussion Blog Rubrics






Main Point

Clearly stated

English Language

Good grammar

Minor grammar mistakes

Initial Post

The question is answered fully. Reasoning behind

the answer is clear and

supported by Bible or the lecture or other sources.

Students are not required to agree, no points are taken off for disagreeing with the lectures or the professor, but the

reasoning for the argument must be clear. (2)

The question is answered fully. Reasoning behind

the answer is clear.

Students are not required to agree, no points are taken off for disagreeing

with the lectures or the professor, but the

reasoning for the

argument must be clear. (1.5).

The question is answered but the reasoning is lacking clear analytical

thinking. (1).

Incomplete answer.       (0-0.5).



  1. Final exam.

The final exam questions cover the entire material from the lecture notes as well as material from the required readings. The final exam will take place on. The questions will include true and false, short answers, and short essays.

The final exam must be completed without the assistance of books, notes, devices, or outside help. Students are allowed 70 minutes to complete this exam.

If a student cannot take the final exam on the assigned day due to a personal emergency such as illness, the student must email with the reasons he/she cannot meet this deadline and documentation that supports them. Whether an alternate time for writing the exam will be granted is left to the teacher’s discretion.





1.     Weekly reading reports


2.     Weekly quizzes


3.     Weekly discussion blogs


4.     Research paper


5.     Final exam








Highlighted in the table below is the grading system used in this course.







93 – 100



90 – 92



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



63 – 66



60 -62



0       – 59



Late Assignments and missed tests/exam

All assignments are to be submitted on their assigned days. Notice the following: (a) Late reading reports will not be accepted (for cases of the student’s personal emergencies, please see below). (b) Failure to submit the research paper on time will be penalized 5% off of the earned grade for each day (including the weekend) that passes before they are submitted. Papers that are late more than seven days (including weekends) will not be accepted and will receive no credit. (c) Missed Quizzes and Exams. Missed quizzes and exams cannot be retaken, except in cases when the student was prevented by a personal emergency, such as a death in the family, or illness (please, see the paragraph below).

If a student is not able to complete an assignment due to a personal emergency, such as a death in the family or illness (a doctor’s note and/or other documentation must be provided), late assignments and tests will be accepted without penalty, if completed by a new deadline set by the teacher. Other circumstances resulting in the incompletion of assignments that the teacher should consider must be explained in a typed note and submitted with the late work. This does not mean that the excuse or the work will be accepted, as the circumstances will be judged on an individual basis by the teacher. Notice that computer problems are not looked on favorably!

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is ‘[c]opying or imitating the language, ideas, and thoughts of another author, and passing off the same as one’s original work.’ This includes copying another student’s work, aiding another student to plagiarize, taking an essay (wholly or in part) from a journal, a book, the internet, or another student (past or present). To avoid plagiarism, always give credit to sources, even when paraphrasing. Plagiarism is academic stealing, and as such will not be tolerated. Any act of plagiarism in this class will result in failing the particular assignment, and maybe the course, depending on the degree of the act. It will be reported to the university administration. The guidelines regarding plagiarism and academic integrity are outlined on pages 21-24 of the 2005-2006 WAU Bulletin. See, also Student Handbook & Planner 2015-2016, p. 20

Disability Statement

Any student who may need accommodations as a result of the impact of a disability should make an appointment to speak with the instructor privately.  Please also contact Mr. Fitzroy Thomas in the Office for Disability Services at (301) 891-4115 to coordinate reasonable accommodations for documented disabilities.  The Office of Disability Services is located in the Betty Howard Center for Student Success, Wilkinson Hall, room 133.