PUB HLTH 1006 - Saving lives or respecting rights? An introduction to health ethics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Should you be able to choose the gender of your baby? Should risky behaviours reduce your fair share of health care resources? Should researchers in developed countries conduct research with populations in developing countries? What are the ethical obligations of biomedical scientists? Is euthanasia morally permissible? These are some of the fascinating ethical questions this course will equip you to answer. You will explore ethical issues ranging from the individual to the global level, and learn to analyse and resolve these issues using major ethical theories and principles. In this way, you will come to appreciate that a tension sometimes exists between saving lives and respecting rights.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 1006
    Course Saving lives or respecting rights? An introduction to health ethics
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Course Description Should you be able to choose the gender of your baby? Should risky behaviours reduce your fair share of health care resources? Should researchers in developed countries conduct research with populations in developing countries? What are the ethical obligations of biomedical scientists? Is euthanasia morally permissible? These are some of the fascinating ethical questions this course will equip you to answer. You will explore ethical issues ranging from the individual to the global level, and learn to analyse and resolve these issues using major ethical theories and principles. In this way, you will come to appreciate that a tension sometimes exists between saving lives and respecting rights.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr David Hunter

    Course Coordinator: David Hunter
    Phone: +61 8313 3089
    Location: Level 3 Helen Mayo North

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Timetable details are located on MyUni.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Analyse ethical problems in health care practice and policy.
    2 Explain relevant ethical theories and concepts.
    3 Synthesise relevant information and ideas.
    4 Critique arguments using evidence and theory.
    5 Defend a proposed course of action.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 3-5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1, 2, 4, 5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    A course reader and web-links will be made available through MyUni. There will also be online weekly lectures and materials which the students are expected to engage with.
    Recommended Resources
    Will be made available through MyUni.
    Online Learning
    MyUni is the primary entry point to online learning at the University of Adelaide. MyUni provides students and staff with access to   course materials, discussion forums, announcements, and many other features to help manage learning and teaching. You can connect to MyUni on or off campus from an internet-connected computer using a Web browser. The URL is: Login to this resource using your Username and Password. Once logged onto MyUni, you will find the information displayed is customised to present only details relevant to you and the online content for courses that you are studying.

    For enquiries, contact MyUni Support
    Phone: (08) 8313 3000
    The Helpdesk is available for extended hours during the week or through voicemail.

    You will use MyUni for a number of purposes:
    Accessing announcements about changes in scheduling, course information etc. please check MyUni regularly as they contain   important announcements that are relevant to your study in this course.

    Resources to support the workshop materials and SGDE will be provided on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will introduce students to the identification, analysis and resolution of ethical issues in health care practice and policy. This course is being delivered using a flipped classroom teaching modality where each week students will be expected to engage with recorded lectures &/or written online material to introduce students to key topics, concepts and theories, and model the analysis and resolution of ethical issues. It is anticipated that this material will take between 1-2 hours each week to engage with.

    This core material will be developed on each week with a one hour tutorial to draw on this content to develop students’ capacity to synthesise relevant information and ideas, and make and critically evaluate arguments using logic, evidence and theory.

    This tutorial is then supplemented with a one hour weekly student seminar providing further extension around the weekly core topic.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact hours: 3 hours per week, plus readings, assignments etc
    Learning Activities Summary
    Conceptual organisation:
    This course is organised around the principle of developing an understanding of ethics first in the context of individuals and then in the broader social context and then finally into the global context.

    As such the course will progressively equip students with ethical theories and principles by addressing specific ethical questions about specific health care practices and policies. Students will be presented with ethical issues at each layer of the model, beginning with questions about the ethics of practice. In relation to each issue, students will be asked to answer the recurring question ‘What should we do, and why?’

    To help the students answer this question, they will be taught to apply, and balance, different ethical approaches such as consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics and the four principles approach. At the end of the course, all of the theories will be briefly consolidated.

    A particular focus of the course will be ethical issues likely to be relevant to the future professional roles the students may take up.
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students will facilitate each seminar in small groups - each student will prepare a question for their assigned seminar.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment  Type Weighting Learning course objective(s) being addressed
    Online quiz Summative 10% 2
    Seminar presentation question and facilitation Summative 20% 1-4
    Tutorial Participation Summative 10% 1-5
    Essay Plan Summative 20% 1-5
    Essay Summative 40% 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Online Quizzes: Students will be required to do two short multichoice quizzes covering the learning from the first six weeks of the course so they can calibrate their understanding of the material.

    Seminar presentation question & facilitation: Students will each be required to prepare a question for one of the weekly seminars with a short (up to 500 words) justification of why that is a relevant and important question to ask regarding the assigned topic. Seminar topics will be made available and will be assigned during the first week of classes, with student’s being assigned topics from week 2. They will at the seminar introduce their question and help facilitate the seminar. This will be worth 20% of their grade, with the written justification being worth 10% of their grade and the facilitation being worth 10%.

    Tutorial Participation: Active participation in tutorials will be assessed throughout the semester and will count for 10%.

    Essay Plan: Due just before the mid semester break each student will be required to submit an up to two page essay plan identifying the topic they intend to write their essay on, and the approach they intend to take. An example essay plan will be provided and the process explained in the seminar/tutorials. This will count for 20% of their grade.

    Due towards the end of semester each student will submit a 2000 word essay comprising of an ethical analysis on one of several topics. Sample questions will be provided, and students can also write on a topic of their choosing as long as they have sought permission and approval of the topic from the course coordinator.

    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.  Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension.  Without documentation, extensions will not be granted.  Late requests for  extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact  on the student.  Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits.  In the case of late assignments where no extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted.  If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%.  If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the StudentGrievance Resolution Process>.  Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance.  This must be done within 10 business days of the  date of notification of the result.  Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.