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International Ethics Project

The International Ethics Project was a 4-year project that ran from 2015-2018 with collaborators from several countries who developed a shared blended learning module in Professional Ethics.

Project summary

This project involved the collaborative development of a blended (online and face-to-face) module in professional ethics that was implemented in several higher education institutions around the world (South Africa, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Brazil and Belgium). Physiotherapy students worked together online to integrate academic content that they learned in class with their personal clinical experiences in hospital placements. We surveyed students to design the course, and conducted focus group discussions with students and interviews with lecture in order to determine the educational impact of teaching and learning in open online courses that are integrated into form professional curricula.

Students would read about a certain topic as part of the course and then reflect on their own experiences in order to integrate the concepts from the course into their thinking. Their writing process would take the following form:

  • Read about one of the topics that interested them.
  • Reflect on the topic and try to think of an experience they had on their own clinical rotations that related to the topic they had chosen.
  • Begin a draft blog post where they would use concepts from the course to discuss and explain their own clinical experience.
  • Conduct research into the topic, integrating these new sources of information into their blog posts.
  • Read and comment on the blog posts of other students from international institutions who were working through the course in parallel.
  • Finalise their own blog posts, making sure to link to the external sources they had found, as well as the other students’ who had influenced their own thinking on the topic.
  • Add Tags and Categories to the posts to make it easier for others to find their writing.
  • Publish the post.

Topics that students discussed with respect to their own clinical practice:

  • Morality and ethics
  • Ethics and professionalism
  • Basic principles of ethics
  • Human rights
  • Meaningful life and death
  • Abuse
  • Integrity in research
  • Integrity and wrongdoing
  • Resource allocation


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