December 12, 2011
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has recently added a guide for teaching about the ethical issues associated with the use of biofuels. In keeping with other recent resources produced by the education team, the new teaching materials draw their inspiration and focus from one of the authoritative reports written by the main Council Members and seconded experts. In this instance a two-lesson outline for students at Key Stage 3 (age 11-14) and above has been developed from the 2011 report Biofuels: ethical issues.
The structures activities on biofuels are the fifth resources developed specifically for teachers and lecturers
The first lesson uses a series of case studies to introduce a variety of potential biofuels and the advantages and disadvantages that each presents.
The second lesson involves the students in role play, to consider the question into the question “Should the UK increase the amount of biofuels it imports and if so what should be the rules for biofuels production?”
September 8, 2011
The Briefing contains recommendations about useful resources for teaching about various aspects of bioethics
Anyone involved in teaching ethics to bioscience students should get hold of a copy of Ethics in the biosciences: Resources, references and tools for ethics teaching in the biosciences. This is the second Briefing document produced by the UK Centre for Bioscience (the first was on Assessment).
The new booklet includes coverage of the following topics:
- Teaching ethics
- Assessing ethics
- Ethical theory: How are ethical decisions made?
- The ethics of being a scientist
- Environmental ethics
- Issues at the beginning of life
- Issues at the end of life
- Genetics and genomes
- Animal experimentation
- Ethics and Risk
Each chapter includes a short introduction written by an expert on the topic and then a recommendations of other resources (websites, books, articles, slides, videos, etc) which have proven to be useful in teaching on the subject.
In addition to the online version of the booklet, a number of hard copies have been produced – if you would like one please contact the UK Centre for Bioscience before December 2011 when, unfortunately, their activities will be substantially scaled back.
June 3, 2011
The Headline Bioethics study guides are being hosted on the Virtual Genetics Education Centre at the University of Leicester
Headline bioethics is a new series of resources for teaching about bioethics. There will be two styles of Headline bioethics resources – study guides and commentaries. For both sets of material, each resource is focussed around a news story which raises interesting ethical question in the fields of biology and biomedicine. The selected stories must all be available as a video clip on the BBC news website.
Study guides include background information and structured worksheets which teachers can either use “of the shelf” or customise for their own purposes. Commentaries are authored by undergraduate students and offer reflections on some of the ethical issues raised by the news story.
The ethics of GM crops is one of the topics considered in Headline Bioethics
The first two study guides, on Genetically Modified crops and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, are now available. These Headline bioethics resources was authored by Sarah Curtis, a TULIP intern at the University of Leicester. If you have thoughts about these materials, or suggestions for future topics that you’d like to see covered in this way, then please let us know.
May 19, 2011
I gave a presentation at a recent meeting of the UK Centre for Bioscience day conference on Some (in)famous cases of research conduct. I’ve uploaded both the slides (below, and on Slideshare) as well as a table summarising who, what, when and my classification of what category or categories of research misconduct they represent. Some of the discussion at the session was of the “why haven’t you included Dr So-and-so?” variety. One of two of these were new to me, but mostly I had made a conscious decision to exclude the person named, either because they have since been exonerated or because the jury is still out. I’d welcome suggestions for other examples to include in a revised version.
Other presentations from the Teaching Research Ethics to Bioscience Students day conference are available via this link.
May 19, 2011
This is the 4th resource produced by Nuffield's education team to accompany their more chunky reports on ethical developments in biology and medicine
The latest in a series of educational resources to accompany major reports by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics are now available. Picking up from the 2010 Nuffield report on the ethics of Personalised Healthcare, the resources have been developed by the Reaching Out to Young People team. The materials are based around three case studies looking at the impact of different developments moving medicine away from the traditional patient-doctor consultation. These are: the availability of personal genetic profiles; the ability to buy medicines online; and the rise of the internet as a source of health information.
The story of Christina and her decision about whether or not to buy a test for an inherited disease is one of the new resources
(Note: anyone who has ended at this post looking for “personalised healthcare” in the pharmacogenetic sense might like to know that this was the subject of a different Nuffield report in 2003 and hence it was not included in the 2010 document).
May 19, 2011
*** UPDATE July 2018: Unfortunately these resources are no longer available (see comment below) but I have left the post in case anyone was looking for them ***
Here’s a useful resource for teaching about bioethics and the ethical implications of new developments in genetics. The PHG Foundation website has a large number of tutorials and other educational activities on these topics. You need to register with the site to see them, but there is no fee and the “cost” of registration seems only to be a periodic e-mail newsletter also containing helpful updates.
The PHG Foundation grew out from the Public Health Genetics unit
If I understand correctly funding for the educational developments at PHG has come and gone so nothing new will be appearing in that section of their site – but the stuff that’s already there is definitely worth a look.
The tutorial on moral theories is just one of the bioethics-related resources on the PHG Foundation site
January 7, 2011
Established in 1991, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has earned a reputation for production of authoritative reports of ethical issues raised by a variety of current and emerging technologies in biomedicine and bioscience.
The quality and depth of analysis of the Nuffield reports means that they are rather too ‘chunky’ for most GCSE and A level students to negotiate. Over the last couple of years the Council’s Reaching Out to Young People committee (of which I am a member) has begun to produce educational resources to offer some of the key curriculum-relevant content of the larger reports in a more teenager-friendly format.
The forensic use of bioinformation resources are derived from the Council’s 2007 report of the same name. The resources include curriculum links, lesson plans, teaching notes, activity sheets, background information and quizzes. We hope you find them useful.
December 6, 2009
In March 2009 I was interviewed by SuperSonic FM, a Leicester school radio station, as part of their National Science Week activities. A recording of the interview (27.5 minutes) has recently been added to their website and can be accessed via this link.
March 25, 2009
This episode of Darwin's Dangerous Idea can be viewed online via the BBC iPlayer until April7 2009.
In the three-part series, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, broadcast on BBC2 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, broadcaster Andrew Marr explores the impact of the theory of evolution by natural selection on science, politics and society.
While the first and third episodes, respectively entitled Body and Soul and Life and Death, explore the historical spread of Darwin’s theory and the way it can be employed within conservation and ecology, the second episode, Born Equal?, includes a short section (between 00:45:12 and 00:56:20) that could be used in bioethics teaching.
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