For a list of civic engagement projects done at Hennepin Technical College, see http://www.engagedphilosophy.com/schools/hennepin/
Professor Monica Janzen on her ethics class:
My Ethics classes provide a practical, hands-on introduction to ethics and moral philosophy, the branch of philosophy which concerns right conduct and how we ought to live. Students ask: “What role does ethics play in my daily life? How should I live? What choices should I make? What ethical values should guide my decision-making? What would it mean for me to live good life?” To give practical meaning to these questions, students complete civic engagement projects in which they attempt to work toward a better, more just world. Students complete a project that requires them to think of others, rather than just themselves. As they write about the project, they grapple with important concepts from our class discussions. There are five required sections to their project write ups:
- An introduction section asks them to describe their project and explain its relation to ethics
- A research section requires students to investigate the topic and find how others may have conducted similar work
- A theoretical applications section asks students to apply an ethical theory learned in class to their work on their project. This allows students to “test out” a theory and see how it helps provide moral justification for their work, allows them to see where the theory may have limitations, and gives them a context in which to measure whether they themselves can live up to the requirements of the ethical theory
- A section where they describe the actions they took as part of their projects and whether these actions fall into the category of justice or charity or both
A final section of their writing where they describe their accomplishments and the practical skills they have gained.
Professor Monica Janzen on her critical thinking class:
Some might ask: Why is this project considered philosophy? How is it related to philosophical learning?
In Critical Thinking, student learning focuses on techniques to discriminate between good and bad arguments and good and bad reasoning. Students gain a general introduction to both inductive and deductive arguments, learn about fallacies, and become familiar with different techniques to creatively solve problems. They then apply this learning directly to their problem solving projects (the civic engagement project in Critical Thinking class). This project is an investigation of the relationship between applied critical thinking and issues affecting the community in which we live. This relationship is clearly developed and assessed in student writing. The project write up has five sections that focuses on specific ways our in class learning applies to their real life work solving a problem. The writing has five sections:
- An Introduction where students describe their problem and provide background information about it;
- A section requiring them to use creative thinking methods in the problem solving process and to develop an analogy to better understand or explain their work
- A research section in which they investigate how others solve problems similar to their own. This section allows them to investigate which sources of information are reliable
- A section where they write about the solution they developed, anticipate possible objections to this solution, and reply to this objection
- A final section of their writing where they describe their accomplishments and the practical skills they have gained.
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