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Online Learning

Course Number: PHE 501
Course Title: Ethics
Term: Fall, 2014

Professor

Dr. Ronda Chervin

EMAIL: rchervin@holyapostles.edu ALTERNATIVE EMAIL: chervinronda@gmail.com

(Emails are usually answered in 1-3 days or less)

Phone: 860-632-3059 Eastern Time.

1. Course Description:

This course is a study of the basic principles of ethics from a Thomistic and phenomenological perspective, including criteria for making moral choices and a refutation of situation ethics. Areas such as social justice, abortion, war and peace and sexual ethics will be addressed.

2. Envisioned Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the basics of ethics, various theories about ethics, how to refute skepticism, relativism, and situation ethics, and the truth concerning controversial issues. What is studied can be transformed into talks of their own in the new evangelization.

3. Course Schedule

Week 1: August 25 Introduction to Making Loving Moral Decisions

Readings

  • Way of Love, Vol. III Making Loving Moral Decisions, pp. 147-151, Session 1

Assignment:

  • NOTE: for these assignments, many will be for all students. In some cases there will be additional work for M.A. students. I ask that M.A. students please be mindful of these additional assignment expectations. Many assignments have a discussion board component. Please go to the discussion board for each week in that case.

All Students:

  • Post an short introduction of yourself in the designated discussion area to the right titled, "Introductions".
  • Send professor any kind of photo of yourself, even if it includes other people, so she can use it on her private file to have a more personal relationship to you.
  • Read the syllabus carefully.
  • Write a double-spaced two-page response paper due this Sunday. Please include a bit about your background, answers to questions at the end of the reading and any random thoughts you had while reading.  Send this to rchervin@holyapostles.edu.  Then put a highlight in the designated discussion area to the right titled, "Week 1 Highlight", for this week and respond to at least one post of another student.
  • Decide on an ethical issue you will carry through the readings in Making Loving Moral Decisions up through Session 7. Check out your topic with Dr. Ronda to make sure it will be feasible. Note, this issue should not be a choice between 2 good possibilities but between one you see as clearly wrong and one you think is right. Check this out by sending Dr. Ronda this week a description of a topic and scenario similar to that of Lisa and Mark in the book and appending this scenario to your response paper. Do not use an abortion example since this is already in the book. Include the names of the characters in the little plot; what they are deciding about.

Week 2: September 1 Avoiding Self-Centered Excuses

Readings

  • Making Loving Moral Decisions Sessions 2-4. pp. 152-171

Assignment:

All Students:

  • Write a 3 page response double-spaced, due Sunday, dealing with all the questions at the end of each session. Send it to rchervin@holyapostles.edu. Share on discussion board about a specific new insight you have gotten from the readings so far. Then put a highlight in the designated discussion area to the right titled, "Week 2 Highlight", for this week and respond to at least one post of another student.

Week 3: September 8 Right Ways to Make Decisions

Readings:

  • Read Making Loving Moral Decisions Sessions 5-7, pp. 172-194.

Assignment:

All Students:

  • Write a 3 page paper, double spaced, due Sunday, as per instructions for Week 2. Share on Discussion Board a paragraph about a specific new insight you have gotten from the readings so far. Then put a highlight in the designated discussion area to the right titled, "Week 3 Highlight", for this week and respond to at least one post of another student.

M.A. STUDENTS:

  • IN ADDITION TO WHATEVER IS ASSIGNED TO ALL STUDENTS, add this: prepare a teaching you could give to a specific group making use of materials in the readings so far. This should be about 2 pages single-spaced.

Week 4: September 15 Basics of Thomistic Ethics I

Lectures:

  • Audio on Thomistic Ethics to be found on Populi for this course.

Readings:

  • Basics of Thomistic Ethics on Populi Truths 1-5

Assignment:

All Students:

  • Listen to audio on Thomistic Ethics. Read Basics of Thomistic Ethics, Truths 1-5.

Week 5: September 22 Basics of Thomistic Ethics II

Readings:

  • Basics of Thomistic Ethics to end.

Assignment:

All Students:

  • Write 6 pages double spaced summarizing the ideas in the text with your OWN EXAMPLES. These examples are not the same example you worked on for Making Loving Moral Decisions. This is due on Sunday. Please email your paper to rchervin@holyapostles.edu.
  • Put a highlight in the designated discussion area to the right titled, "Week 5 Highlight", for this week and respond to at least one post of another student.

M.A. Students:

  • Append to the above assignment for all students a brief bio of Thomas Aquinas and a one page overall description of his ethical teachings taken from any source you choose – this can be from a web-site.

Week 6: September 29 Controversial Issues – Social Justice, War and Peace, Euthanasia

Lectures:

  • Possible web-ex with Dr. Lorraine Hartnett about euthanasia in convalescent hospitals.

Readings:

  • Making Loving Moral Decisions, Sessions 8-10 pp. 195-205 . On social justice, read additionally Strangers no Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope by the U.S. and Mexican Bishops concerning immigration ethics.  You can google this.
  • Patricia D. Stewart: The Health Care Decision Guide.

Assignments:

All Students:

  • Write a 3 page paper due Sunday, making use of reflection questions at the end of each session as well as your own ideas, but also reflections from the other readings on immigration and on Health Care Decisions.  
  • DO NOT CARRY LISA AND MARK OR YOUR ETHICAL ISSUE DEVISED FOR EARLIER WEEK THROUGH THE REST OF THE SESSIONS NOW THAT YOU HAVE FINISHED SESSION 7.
  • Put on Week 6 Highlights discussion board 2 paragraphs about new insights you got from the readings, including the Immigration and  Stewart reading. Respond to at least one other student’s post.
  • Pick out your project subject due on the 15th Week of the class.

Undergrad Students:

  • Choose a project book from these possibilities:
  • Ross Porter: To Kindle a Fire: A 21st Century Approach to the Seven Deadly Sins. This short book is written by a clinical psychologist who is also a theologian. Picking out key passages that could be used in ministry to adults and teens could make a great project. On 5-7 pages describe how you would present the 7 deadly sins and their remedies based on the book.
  • Fradd, Matt. DELIVERED: True Stories of men and women who turned from Porn to Purity (San Diego: Catholic Answers Press, 2013) ISBN 978-1-938983-7 $9.95  ebook 3.95
  • Alice Von Hildebrand: The Dark Night of the Body:  why reverence comes first in intimate relations. Fort Collins, CO, Roman Catholic Books. Find on BOOKS forCATHOLICS.com. $14.50  (This is a book about what the author thinks is not true about the otherwise very good Theology of the Body books and seminars.)
  • Gear your presentation to a specific group you could be ministering to.
  • Send topic to Dr. Ronda for approval.

FOR M.A. STUDENTS:

  • Budziszewski: What you Can’t Not Know – this is a fresh look at Thomistic Natural Law ethics. It is brilliant and delightful to read. You could read the beginning, browse topics of interest and come up with a summary for a group of adults such as RCIA. You can get it on inter-library loan at the public library or from Holy Apostles Library if you prefer not to buy it.
  • Dietrich Von Hildebrand: Ethics or Morality and Situation Ethics. You do not have to read every line of either of these books. Read the main points at the beginning of each chapter and more only if you have time. These books are out of print. You might find Morality and Situation Ethics used on Amazon for a small price.  Check also our on-line books. Get them on Inter-Library loan at your public library or from the Von Hildebrand Legacy Project – as for an attachment for $10 – Call C. Haley 740-263-3002 or chaley@hildebrandlegacy.org.  
  • Do not wait long to get these books. They are hefty.
  • Let Dr. Ronda know what you intend to do for your project.

Week 7: October 6 DeMarco: Contraception

Readings:

  • DeMarco – New Perspectives on Contraception, pp. 1-50.  Also read in Making Loving Moral Decisions, Dr. Ronda’s chapters on Sexual Ethics and on Contraception, Sessions 11, and 12, pp. 206-222.

Assignment:

  • Underline as you go, working toward response paper due a week from now.

Week 8:  October 13 DeMarco - Contraception

Readings:

  • DeMarco – New Perspectives on Contraception, read to end.

Assignment:

ALL Students:

  • Write a 7 page paper double spaced summarizing each and every chapter in DeMarco’s  book. Also include a few paragraphs on the chapters of Dr. Ronda you read last week. Send your paper via email to rchervin@holyapostles.edu.
  • On the Discussion Board post one idea from the readings that struck you as most insightful.
  • (Note: The statistics on side-effects of contraception vary greatly. You may know of some that contradict those DeMarco cites in support of his arguments. It is beyond the scope of this course to try to reconcile opposing statistics. It is fine to mention them on the discussion board but they do not change the thrust of the basic philosophical and theological arguments DeMarco presents against contraception.)
  • Find the Couple to Couple League on-line and get the most recent statistics on the reliability (method and user) for Natural Family Planning. Include them in the above paper.
  • In the Week 8 Highlight discussion area, post one idea from the reading and struck you as most insightful.  Respond to at least one other student’s post.

Week 9: October 20 Ethics of Homosexuality

Readings:

  • Harvey: The Truth About Homosexuality. Read from the intro to p. 148 and then another chapter of your choice. Watch this video to see the sensational witness story of a lesbian professor who is now married with many children: Google Melinda Selmys Courage Conference #168.

Assignment:

All Students:

Answer all these questions and send your response to the professor via email at rchervin@holyapostles.edu by Sunday. (About 5 pages double-spaced)

  • What are some psychological theories about the origins of homosexual orientation?
  • What does Harvey think about the belief that homosexual orientation is biological?
  • What are some arguments from Scripture that show that the Bible rejects homosexual acts as intrinsically wrong?
  • What are some philosophical and theological arguments about the wrongness of homosexual acts?
  • What are some ministries Harvey recommends for those with homosexual orientation and/or practice?
  • What did you learn from the video of the lesbian professor?

Week 10: October 27 Morality of Abortion I

Readings:

  • Schwarz and Lattimer, Understanding Abortion. It is a long book. This is a 2 week reading – you could skim over parts you already know a lot about. Note: Schwarz and Lattimer are both strong pro-life advocates. They wrote it as if they were “neutral” in order to reach middle of the road readers.

Week 11 November 3: Morality of Abortion II

Lectures:

  • Possible web-ex with Schwarz and Lattimer

Reading:

  • Finish Understanding Abortion

Assignments:

All Students:

  • On the Discussion board post one paragraph about what stood out for you the most in this book. Respond to one other post.

Undergrad Students:

  • Write 3-page single-spaced paper highlighting key points in Schwarz you thought were new! But span the whole book in choosing these. In the Week 11 Highlights discussion area post one paragraph about what stood out for you the most in this book. Respond to at least one other post.

M.A. Students:

  • Based on the reading, write a 5 page teaching you could offer in a context of an audience of some pro-lifers and some confused pro-choice people. On the Week 11 Highlights discussion area post one paragraph about what stood out for you the most in this book. Respond to at least one other post.

Week 12:  November 10 The Meaning of Conscience and Situation Ethics

Readings:

All Students:

  • Read the skit: The Many Facets of Evil. Then read the Summary of Von Hildebrand’s Morality and Situation Ethics. These will be posted on Populi for you.

Assignment:

All Students:

  • By Sunday put in the Week 12 Highlights discussion are 2 paragraphs indicating what you found most helpful in these readings of the Skit and the Summary. Respond to at least one other student’s post.

Undergrads:

  • Read: Making Loving Moral Decisions Sessions 14-15 pp.227-251.
  • Write a 2 page double spaced paper responding to questions in the text of both Sessions. Email your paper to rchervin@holyapostles.edu

M.A. STUDENTS:

  • Read: Making Loving Moral Decisions Sessions 14-15 pp.227-251.
  • Listen to audio on Splendor of truth.
  • Locate and read Splendour of Truth online (Google it), and then write a 3 page single-spaced teaching based on the Encyclical Splendour of Truth by JP, especially covering any topics you were not familiar with before the reading. Be sure to cover JPII’s refutation of fundamental option and proportionalism. Your teaching should show that you are familiar with the whole document. Email you paper to rchervin@holyapostles.edu

Week 13-14:  November 17 and November 25 Working on your Project Presentation.

Assignment:

  • The project, selected and approved on Week 6, is due on Thursday of Week 15. It will be a description of a talk, a series of talks, a workshop, a retreat, or some other format, that you could give to a specific group. (It should be 5-7 pages and can include quotations from the readings. Go back to the syllabus for more precise instructions) REMEMBER THAT THIS SHOULD BE PRECISELY RELATED TO OUR COURSE CONCEPTS VS. A SUMMARY OF SOMETHING YOU READ THAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT EVER HAVING TAKEN THIS COURSE.)

Week 15  December 1  ff.  Project Presentations

  • Possibly done on Web-ex. Send it to Dr. Ronda and also post it on the discussion board. Comment on the presentation of at least one of the other students.

4. COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  • Response Papers and Discussion Postings  – 90 % 
  • Project – 10 %

Please send me a photo so I can get to know you better.

There is a deduction from your grade for each day of lateness of homework unless you tell me about a real emergency, not something such as, “I'm going on vacation for a week.”

It is mandatory that if your writing skills need improvement that you go to OWL. Otherwise points will be deducted from your written responses.

5. REQUIRED READINGS and RESOURCES:

  • Chervin, Ronda. The Way of Love (CreateSpace Amazon)  $10. Cheaper on Kindle.
  • Basics of Thomistic Ethics by Chervin – On course materials posted for this class.
  • De Marco, Donald. New Perspectives on Contraception (Dayton, Ohio: One More Soul) (order from 1-800-307-7685 for suggested donation of $12) (There is no ISBN number on this) The cheapest is you can buy an e-book version on Google Books for $6.72.)
  • Harvey John. The Truth About Homosexuality ISBN 978089870536 (order from Ignatius Press or other outlet) List price $15.26
  • Schwarz, Dr. Stephen & Kiki Latimer. Understanding Abortion: From Mixed Feelings to Rational Thought (Lexington) ISBN-10: 0739167715 ISBN-13: 978-0739167717 List price $29.95 * Von Hildebrand. Morality and Situation Ethics Selections (Dr. Ronda will send you selections on an attachment.)
  • Skit The Many Facets of Evil – by Ronda Chervin – to be found on Populi for this course
  • Summary of Von Hildebrand’s Morality and Situation Ethics - to be found on Populi for this course
  • John Paul II. The Splendour of Truth (find this Encyclical on line) (An option for Week 12)
  • Patricia D. Stewart The Health Care Decision Guide (Norwell, Massachusetts: Sweet Apple Press, 2010) $7 ISBN -13:978-0-9702465-2-3
  • Strangers No Longer…US and Mexican Bishops – available on line.

6. READINGS TO SELECT FROM FOR YOUR PROJECT:

UNDERGRADS:

  • Ross Porter: To Kindle a Fire: A 21st Century Approach to the Seven Deadly Sins. This short book is written by a clinical psychologist who is also a theologian. Picking out key passages that could be used in ministry to adults and teens could make a great project. On 5-7 pages describe how you would present the 7 deadly sins and their remedies based on the book.
  • Fradd, Matt. DELIVERED: True Stories of men and women who turned from Porn to Purity (San Diego: Catholic Answers Press, 2013) ISBN 978-1-938983-7 $9.95  ebook 3.95
  • Alice Von Hildebrand: The Dark Night of the Body:  why reverence comes first in intimate relations. Fort Collins, CO, Roman Catholic Books. Find on BOOKS forCATHOLICS.com. $14.50  (This is a book about what the author thinks is not true about the otherwise very good Theology of the Body books and seminars.)

FOR M.A. STUDENTS:

  • Budziszewski: What you Can’t Not Know
  • Dietrich Von Hildebrand: Ethics or Morality and Situation Ethics.

7. EVALUATION

You will be writing responses to the readings. These are informal. You don’t need scholarly footnotes, but you should say what author you are referring to. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TAKE A PAPER YOU WROTE FROM ANOTHER COURSE WITH SIMILAR TOPICS IN IT AND HAND IT IN FOR ME ON THE BASIS THAT IT IS THE SAME BASIC IDEA! Each paper must clearly be a response to what you have read in this course.

THERE WILL BE A 1 PT. LATENESS PENALTY PER DAY AFTER THE ASSIGNMENT IS DUE EXCEPT FOR A BIG EXCUSE THAT YOU SHOULD INFORM THE PROFESSOR ABOUT.

ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE ON THE SUNDAY NIGHT OF THE WEEK AFTER YOU BEGIN READING UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED. DO NOT FILL SPACE ON RESPONSE PAPERS WITH YOUR NAME AND THE TITLE SPLAYED OUT OVER 1/3 OF THE PAGE – ONE LINE WILL DO FOR THIS.

Students who have difficulty with research and composition are encouraged to pursue assistance with the Online Writing Lab (available at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl). You grade will be reduced for each assignment if I tell you to go to OWL and you do not do so indicated by the subsequent paper(s) being inadequate from a writing point of view.

GRADING SCALE

A 94-100; A- 90-93; B+ 87-89; B 84-86; B- 80-83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73 D 60-69; F 59 and below

8. DISABILITIES ACCOMMODATIONS POLICY

Holy Apostles College & Seminary is committed to the goal of achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities who qualify for admission to the College. Students enrolled in online courses who have documented disabilities requiring special accommodations should contact Bob Mish, the Director of Online Student Affairs, at rmish@holyapostles.edu or 860-632-3015. In all cases, reasonable accommodations will be made to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to course materials in a mode in which they can receive them. Students who have technological limitations (e.g., slow Internet connection speeds in convents) are asked to notify their instructors the first week of class for alternative means of delivery.

9. ACADEMIC HONESTY POLICY

Students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary are expected to practice academic honesty.

Avoiding Plagiarism

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas, presented or claimed as your own. At this stage in your academic career, you should be fully conscious of what it means to plagiarize. This is an inherently unethical activity because it entails the uncredited use of someone else's expression of ideas for another's personal advancement; that is, it entails the use of a person merely as a means to another person’s ends.

Students, where applicable:

  • Should identify the title, author, page number/webpage address, and publication date of works when directly quoting small portions of texts, articles, interviews, or websites.
  • Students should not copy more than two paragraphs from any source as a major component of papers or projects.
  • Should appropriately identify the source of information when paraphrasing (restating) ideas from texts, interviews, articles, or websites.
  • Should follow the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Stylesheet (available on the Online Writing Lab’s website at http://www.holyapostles.edu/owl/resources).

Consequences of Academic Dishonesty:

Because of the nature of this class, academic dishonesty is taken very seriously. Students participating in academic dishonesty may be removed from the course and from the program.

10. ATTENDANCE POLICY

Even though you are not required to be logged in at any precise time or day, you are expected to login several times during each week. Because this class is being taught entirely in a technology-mediated forum, it is important to actively participate each week in the course. In a traditional classroom setting for a 3-credit course, students would be required, per the federal standards, to be in class three 50-minute sessions (or 2.5 hours a week) and prepare for class discussions six 50-minute sessions (or 5 hours) a week. Expect to devote at least nine 50-minute sessions (or 7.5 quality hours) a week to this course. A failure on the student’s part to actively participate in the life of the course may result in a reduction of the final grade.

11. INCOMPLETE POLICY

An Incomplete is a temporary grade assigned at the discretion of the faculty member. It is typically allowed in situations in which the student has satisfactorily completed major components of the course and has the ability to finish the remaining work without re-enrolling, but has encountered extenuating circumstances, such as illness, that prevent his or her doing so prior to the last day of class.

To request an incomplete, distance-learning students must first download a copy of the Incomplete Request Form. This document is located within the Shared folder of the Files tab in Populi. Secondly, students must fill in any necessary information directly within the PDF document. Lastly, students must send their form to their professor via email for approval. “Approval” should be understood as the professor responding to the student’s email in favor of granting the “Incomplete” status of the student.

Students receiving an Incomplete must submit the missing course work by the end of the sixth week following the semester in which they were enrolled. An incomplete grade (I) automatically turns into the grade of “F” if the course work is not completed.

Students who have completed little or no work are ineligible for an incomplete. Students who feel they are in danger of failing the course due to an inability to complete course assignments should withdraw from the course.

A “W” (Withdrawal) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the first week of a semester to the end of the third week. A “WF” (Withdrawal/Fail) will appear on the student’s permanent record for any course dropped after the end of the third week of a semester and on or before the Friday before the last week of the semester.

12. ABOUT YOUR PROFESSOR

 chervinD

Dr. Ronda Chervin has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Fordham University and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute.

She is a convert to the Catholic faith from a Jewish but atheistic background. She has been a professor at Loyola Marymount University, St. John's Seminary of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Our Lady of Corpus Christi, and presently teaches at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut.

More than fifty books of hers have been published by Catholic presses in the area of philosophy and spirituality. Dr. Ronda presents on EWTN and Catholic radio. She is a dedicated widow and grandmother.

Dr. Ronda can best be reached at rchervin@holyapostles.edu. You can call me, EDT, at 860-632-3059 in Connecticut or at 860-759-4521 when my sessions at Holy Apostles face to face are not in session. Any time between noon and 10 PM is good to call.

(860) 632-3010