Introduction to Communication Ethics
Makau, J & Marty, D. (2013). Dialogue and Deliberation. Long Grove, Il: Waveland Press.
Additional instructional resources will include a reading packet with excerpts from essays and books. Participants will also be asked to secure information and insights through the Internet, Library Learning Complex, and other sources.
This course focuses on the ethics of communication in interpersonal, professional, and civic contexts. We will explore diverse ethical frameworks, principles, and guidelines for help discerning what rights and responsibilities, if any, communicators have to themselves, to their families and communities, and to the broader global community.
The course fosters development of the knowledge, skills, and abilities associated with statewide general education requirements in oral and written communication and critical thinking skills, as well as CSUMB’s requirement in Ethics.
LEARNING OUTCOMES (General Education Requirements A-2 and A-3):
Outcome 1 - Comprehend and Interpret Controversies: Students demonstrate the ability to
understand multiple perspectives on significant controversies presented by diverse authors on the authors’ own terms and to explain the intent, purpose, and underlying values of the advocates of these perspectives at an intermediate collegiate level.
Outcome 2 - Identify and Understand Ethical Dimensions of Controversies: Students
demonstrate the ability to recognize, understand, and effectively explain the ethical dimensions
of significant controversies.
Outcome 3 - Use Diverse Ethical Frameworks to Analyze Controversies: Students
demonstrate the ability to effectively apply diverse ethical frameworks to analyses of multiple
perspectives on significant controversies.
Outcome 4 - Identify and Evaluate Potential Options for Responding Ethically and
Effectively to Controversies: Students demonstrate the ability to recognize, understand,
accurately represent, and effectively evaluate multiple options for responding responsibly to
Outcome 5 - Communicate Orally and in Writing: Students demonstrate the ability to use
written and oral communication ethically and effectively at an intermediate collegiate level.
1. Personal case narrative: For this assignment, you will be asked to provide a reflective narrative regarding an ethically complex situation in which you made the decision to deceive someone close to you. This assignment is worth 10 points.
2. Essay exams: You will have two such opportunities to demonstrate your ability to understand the content covered in the course readings, lectures, and discussions, as well as to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired to concrete, “real-world” cases. Each exam is worth 10 points.
3. Group Forum and Collaborative Written Report: In collaboration with others, you will develop a creative means of conveying findings regarding options available to decision makers confronted with representative “real-world” communication ethics challenges within an interpersonal, professional, or civic communication of special interest to you. Following the forum, you will work together to prepare a written report articulating the group’s findings. These assignments are worth a total of 10 points (up to 5 for the group’s performance as a whole and up to 5 for the individual’s contributions).
4. Forum Response Essay: For this assignment, you will identify a group forum you found especially engaging and illuminating and explore what made the selected forum especially helpful to fulfillment of our shared goals. This assignment is worth up to 10 points.
5. Final Essay: This assignment calls upon you to prepare an argumentative essay articulating and thoughtfully supporting a reasonable and responsive proposal for how best to address one of the communication ethics challenges explored during our work together. In preparation, you will be completing a Position Paper and Draft Argumentative Essay. You will also be provided peer feedback on these assignments. Worth 20 points.
6. Critical Review: This in-class assignment affords you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to discern and thoughtfully convey strengths and areas for improvement in a peer’s draft argumentative essay. Worth 10 points.
7. Portfolio: This assignment affords you the opportunity to demonstrate fulfillment of the course learning outcomes. You will be asked to include a reflective essay, all preliminary drafts of assignments (with instructors’ comments), and peer reviews of your Position Paper and Draft Argumentation Essay. Only scores received on “final” drafts will be used to determine your final grade.
8. Students will complete ungraded Impromptu Essay Assignments throughout the term. Additionally, due to the nature and purposes of this course, the quality of your Participation and Contributions will play a significant role in assessing your overall performance. See the notes below for details.
IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTIONS:
Given the nature and goals of this course, all participants are expected to come prepared to contribute to class discussions, group work, and other learning activities. Absence from a class session prevents the individual from contributing to the learning community, as well as jeopardizing the individual’s ability to stay fully in tune with the community’s efforts. The learning process in this class is incremental. Active participation is therefore vital to fulfillment of the course goals.
It is understood that special circumstances (such as a death in the family, illness, etc.) can require an enrollee to miss class. If special circumstances of this kind require a student to miss a class discussion or other learning activity, she or he is responsible for consulting with and securing notes from classmates, as well as for completing all work required in order to get “up to speed” on material covered during his or her absence.
Participants are expected to arrive on time (late arrivals disrupt the flow of learning for the entire learning community and are therefore deeply problematic). The learning community’s success depends as well upon participants’ timely and thoughtful review of required readings and related instructional resources. All participants are expected to come to class well prepared to contribute meaningfully.
The instructor will correspond with class members via e-mail throughout the semester. Attending to the instructor’s correspondence is critical to successful participation in the course learning activities. Participants are therefore expected to attend carefully to the instructor’s messages.
Texting and reading other forms of personal communication with individuals outside the learning community create significant obstacles to the kinds of connection and presence required for thoughtful participation in communal learning experiences. Personal computer, I-Pad, cell phone and related technological resource uses are not permitted during class (other than for group learning purposes as directed by the instructor). Be sure to turn off personal computers, cell phones, Blackberries, G-3 or G-4 devices, I-Touch or I-Pad devices, Note Pads, and any/all other electronic communications devices prior to each class session, and to keep all such equipment turned off throughout the class period.
ASSESSMENT OF PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTIONS:
19-20pts: Attends all class sessions (barring extreme circumstances); arrives on time, well prepared for each session; participates actively and meaningfully; contributes significantly to group activities, including (but not limited to) the group forum project; completes in-class exercises, attending carefully to “prompts”; provides valuable insights in group meetings throughout the semester; demonstrates respect and regard for fellow class mates; follows assignment submission guidelines; significantly contributes to fulfillment of class goals.
17-18pts: Attends nearly all class sessions (barring extreme circumstances); arrives on time, prepared for each session; participates actively and meaningfully; completes in-class exercises, attending thoughtfully to “prompts”; contributes valuably to group activities including (but not limited to) the group forum project; provides meaningful insights in group meetings throughout the semester; follows assignment submission guidelines; demonstrates respect and regard for fellow class mates; contributes valuably to fulfillment of class goals.
15-16pts: Attends most class sessions; arrives on time, prepared for each session’s learning experience; participates actively; meets minimal standards in contributing to group activities including (but not limited to) the group forum project; satisfactorily completes in-class exercises; offers insights during class sessions; follows assignment submission guidelines; demonstrates respect and regard for fellow class mates; demonstrably seeks to contribute to fulfillment of class goals.
13-14: Attends more than 70% of class sessions; arrives on time; contributes to group activities including (but not limited to) the group forum project; offers insights during at least a third of class sessions; satisfactorily completes in-class exercises; follows assignment submission guidelines; demonstrates respect and regard for fellow class mates; seeks to contribute to fulfillment of class goals.
12-13: Attends more than 60% of class sessions; arrives on time; contributes to group activities including (but not limited to) the group forum project; offers insights during at least a fourth of class sessions; satisfactorily completes in-class exercises; follows assignment submission guidelines; demonstrates respect and regard for fellow class mates; seeks to contribute to fulfillment of class goals.
Fulfillment of Statewide and University General Education Requirements:
Students who participate actively in class discussions and learning activities, submit all course assignments on due dates, and whose final portfolio submission demonstrates a satisfactory level of competency--meeting a satisfactory level of performance on course assignments--will earn a grade of “C” or better. Students who meet or exceed this standard of performance throughout the semester will be certified as having fulfilled the state’s A-2 and A-3 general education requirements (oral and written communication and related critical thinking skills), as well as CSUMB’s general education level-2 requirement in ethics
Participants’ Rights and Responsibilities:
1. Presence & Participation: As noted above, on-time presence and informed, active, respectful participation in class discussions and other learning activities are expected of all participants. If a student must miss a class, group discussion, or other learning activity, she or he is responsible for consulting with and securing notes from classmates, as well as for completing all work required in order to get “up to speed” on material covered during his or her absence. The instructor is responsible for being well prepared to facilitate learning through respectful engagement with students and their learning processes, and to provide thoughtful, responsible, and responsive assessment of student learning.
2. Meeting Deadlines and Fulfilling Outcomes: all assignments are to be submitted at the beginning of class on the due date unless other arrangements are negotiated in advance with the instructor. Valid reasons to negotiate extensions include serious illness or personal emergency. All assignments are expected to be typed, double-spaced, and following other guidelines. The instructor is expected to provide clear assignment guidelines and to assess student work in a timely fashion (three weeks maximum) with comments and assessments of student learning, as appropriate. Students are entitled to discuss their assessment with the instructor.
3. Plagiarism gravely undermines the integrity of the learning process. Students must be sure to provide clear and appropriate citations for any information, text, or copy taken from books, magazines, peers, tutors, friends, the Internet, or any other outside source. Failure to do so on any assignment will be considered a serious violation of academic integrity. The instructor is obligated to uphold strict sanctions against such practices throughout the semester.
4. CSUMB welcomes and accommodates students with disabilities. Students who may need accommodations are asked to see the instructor during office hours or to make an appointment to meet with the instructor no later than February 10th. To make an appointment, call 582-3577 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who may need accommodation are asked to contact Student_Disability_Resources@csumb.edu. Phone: 831-582-3672 voice, 582-4024 Fax/TTY: http://www.csumb.edu/student/sdr/
Days 1&2: Introduction to the course & to each other
Communication, Agency, and Related Issues
Ethical Reflection and Practice in Everyday Life
Preliminary exploration of potential group project topics
Day 1: Diverse approaches to communication across differences
Adversarial individualism and related communication models
Communication Ethics Across Contexts
Continued exploration of group project topics
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 1-19
Day 2: Communication, interdependence, and ethics
Case study: Focus and group selections
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 21-37
Day 1: Introducing and applying diverse ethical frameworks, including (but not limited to) Consequentialist perspectives (such as Utilitarianism), De-Ontological Perspectives, Virtue Ethics, Cultural and Individual Relativism, Interdependent Ethics, Ethnic Ethics, Natural Law Theory, and Ethics of Care.
Exploring case studies related to truthfulness
Exploring the Principle of Veracity
Readings: Reading Packet: “Ethical and Unethical Communication” Essay, Adrienne Rich “Telling it Slant” excerpt, and “Methods of Analysis” excerpts from Michael Pritchard and James Jaksa
Day 2: Deliberative inquiry and communication ethics
Deliberative questioning skills
Introducing different types of knowledge, insight, and information
Facts, values, and beliefs
Assessing source credibility and information reliability
Ethics, Deliberation, and Narrative framing
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 39-58
Day 1: Dialogue and civility
Truthfulness, deception, and civility
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 61-82
Day 2: Dialogic skills and sensibilities
Personal Case Narrative Due
Readings: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 83-108
Reading Packet: Sandra Cisneros excerpt
Reading Packet: “Ethical and Unethical Communication”
Day 1: Listening
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 109-124
Day 2: Understanding
Dispositions and Moral Maps
Applying moral frameworks to cases
Developing responsible and responsive case narratives
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 125-140
Day 1: Deliberative framing
Individual, family, and communal influences
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 143-163
Day 2: Group Work
Complete research contracts
Day 1: Review and Preparation for Exam
Research contracts due
Day 2: In-Class Exam #1
Day 1: Cultural Relativity and Cross Cultural Values
Applying ethical frameworks to cases
Reading: Packet: “Ethical and Unethical Communication” essay and excerpts from
Clifford Christians essays
Day 2: Discernment and Communication Ethics
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 165-186
Day 1: Cross Cultural Ethical Presumptions
Readings: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Reading Packet: “Ethical and Unethical Communication” essay
Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 165-186
Day 2: Exploring Group Topics
Finding Common Ground
Finalizing roles and responsibilities
Identifying and exploring issues involving communication ethics
Exploring and giving voice to diverse stakeholders and perspectives
Anticipating (likely) consequences
Applying diverse ethical frameworks
Review of guidelines and assessment criteria for oral presentation
Weeks Eleven & Twelve:
Day 1: Group forum reflections
Preparation for Exam #2
Day 2: In-Class Exam #2
Day 1: Deliberative Argumentation
Exploring issues related to communication ethics for final essay
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 187-208
Day 2: Deliberative Advocacy
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 209-228
Response Essay Due
Day 1: Evaluating deliberative arguments
Reading: Dialogue and Deliberation, pp. 229-248
Day 2: Preparing the final essay
Exploring ethical issues
Position Paper Due
Day 1: Reflections
Preparing for Final Submissions and Critical Review
DAY 2: Draft Final Essay Due
In-Class Critical Review
FINAL SUBMISSIONS: PORTFOLIOS & REFLECTION ESSAYS
DUE DURING ASSESSMENT WEEK