Stem cells are obviously one of the hottest topics of the moment and offer one of the best ways to link current news stories to the teaching of bioethics. Which story will be most useful? The BBC are very helpfully providing an increasing amount of their news footage online via their News Player service. The image on the streamed video is not really of sufficiently high quality to show to a class or lecture room directly, but you may add a link from, for example, a virtual learning environment and require students to take a look themselves. The streamed clips are certainly a good way of refreshing your own knowledge on the subject.
To find what is available just go to www.bbc.co.uk/tv and put “stem cells” (or whatever else you want) into the search box. The results are now divided between website hits and video and audio hits. As a startpoint, I recommend Susan Watts’ excellent piece from Newsnight on 9th Feb 2006 (mislabelled 10th Feb 2006 in the index). This 15 minute item reviews the state of stem cell research (embryonic and adult) in the aftermath of the Hwang cloning scandal and includes a good roundup of the different sorts of work being done.
Whilst on the subject of streamed media, there is a very useful tool available on the University of Groningen website. The Virtual Cutter (http://video.surfnet.nl/info/webstroom/english/artikel_content.jsp?objectnumber=29509) allows you to select a specific shorter extract from a streamed video. Using this online software, you can specify the startpoint and the endpoint of the clip you want to use, which is then gets given a unique URL. The clever thing is that you are not making a copy – the full item remains in its original location, but you can use the generated URL to link to just the section you want from a different webpage. Instructions are in English or Dutch (other languages are promised).