Create an informative 12-minute news segment on a contemporary social issue (must be a 12 minute transcript).

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies:

Competency 1: Explain the nature of ethical issues.
Explain the selected contemporary issue, with reference to practical instances.

Competency 3: Engage in ethical debate.
Describe the relevant contributions to the issue from at least two different academic disciplines.

Competency 4: Develop a position on a contemporary ethical issue.
Explain at least two distinct positions on the issue.
Defend one’s personal ethical position on the issue.

Competency 5: Communicate effectively in the context of personal and professional moral discourse.
Create a trancript presentation that reports on a contemporary social issue from multiple perspectives.


Making responsible decisions about major public issues is more complex than a direct application of theory. One source of this complexity is the value of looking at the issue through a variety of disciplinary modes of inquiry:

Psychology and sociology inform our views of individual and collective behavior.

Mathematics and the sciences remind us that human life is part of a larger world.

Literature and mythology encourage us to remember the power of good and evil.

Medicine points out that what we do affects the health of our bodies.

Communication and information technology help us learn to talk to each other.

Once again, your instructor has selected a few big issues that need to be considered from more than one of these disciplinary lenses. Learning how to integrate knowledge from multiple fields is a vital transferable skill for practical life.

Another source of complexity in dealing with a major issue is that there are many alternative solutions to think about.

Intellectual honesty demands that we think critically about all of them.

Be sure to describe and examine each alternative position fairly:
Do not set up a simplistic version that will be easy to demolish rhetorically.

Taking each opponent’s view seriously clarifies our own convictions.

Apply critical thinking skills to the position you are defending, too:

Think about what objections someone else might make to your view.

Try to show clearly and honestly why you take this position.
Think of your thought on this issue as a chance to practice your skills for engaging in productive moral discourse from multiple points of view.

You have seen how difficult it is to work through a complex public issue by integrating disciplinary insights, debating alternatives, and defending your own position. Now, what are you going to do about it? Perhaps, there is another grand issue about which you care deeply, and the skills you’ve practiced here will work well in dealing with the complexity of that issue as well. The question remains, what will you actually do?

Take a moment to reflect upon what you have learned here. What matters is not some set of facts you have memorized—you can always look up that stuff whenever you want. What does matter is what you can do—identify reliable sources, think critically about issues, engage in productive discourse, defend your positions well, and communicate effectively and creatively.

Like many of the elements of a liberal arts education, these skills are transferable to other aspects of personal, social, and professional life. Learning and growth don’t stop at the end of a course or the completion of a program: they become life-long habits for achievement and success.

Questions to consider
As you think about the theme “dealing with complexity,” consider addressing the following questions:

1. Which disciplinary lenses will you apply to your issue, and what resources have you found?
2, Which of the alternative positions do you find more compelling, and why?
3. What concrete actions will you now take to implement your own solution for the problem?
4. How has our work together in this course changed the way you deal with ethical issues every day?

Suggested Resources
Suggested Resources
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.

Cohen, A. I., & Wellman, C. H. (2014). Contemporary debates in applied ethics (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Hopkins, R. (2013). The power of just doing stuff: How local action can change the world. Cambridge, UK: Green Books.

Gerbaudo, P. (2012). Tweets and the streets: Social media and contemporary activism. London, UK: Pluto Press.

Motilal, S. (Ed.). (2010). Applied ethics and human rights: Conceptual analysis and contextual applications. New York, NY: Anthem Press.

Singer, P. (2016). Famine, affluence, and morality. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Dittmer, J. (n.d.). Applied ethics. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
Pages 1–28.

Martin, B., Anderson, G. L. (Ed.), & Herr, K. G. (Ed.) (2007). Activism, social and political. In Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (pp. 19–27). Retrieved from

Social Responsiblity

Skillsoft. (n.d.). Leveraging emotional intelligence [Tutorial].
Broad social issues often depend upon the extent of our empathy for those who are disadvantaged by a policy or practice. Use this Skillsoft tutorial to sharpen your own sense of how to deploy this fellow-feeling.

Skillsoft. (n.d.). Workplace management: Corporate social responsibility [Tutorial].
Social responsibility, one of the Essential Undergraduate Learning Outcomes, can be observed at an organizational level as well as a personal one. This Skillsoft tutorial draws attention to this possibility.

Skillsoft. (n.d.). Establishing self-confidence for life [Tutorial].
Taking action in support of our ethical convictions is not easy, but this Skillsoft tutorial has some valuable guidance for approaching the task confidently.

Riverbend City: Conflict Management.
Use this activity to get a better understanding of the complexity of a significant local social issue and help you to think constructively about the issue you have chosen to address.

NBC Learn. (n.d.). Black men in Ferguson say lives marked by fear and perception [Video].
?In this video, you will see an example of community reaction to an ethical issue.
Running time: 03:44.

NBC Learn. (n.d.). Investigation finds some public charter schools exclude minorities [Video].
In this video, you will see an example of a significant social issue.
Running time: 04:16.

NBC Learn. (n.d.). Amal Clooney takes ISIS to trial over human trafficking, genocide [Video].
In this video, you will see an example of taking effective action on a social issue.
Running time: 04:36.

Assessment Overview

Assessment Overview

As the producer and correspondent of a television or radio news magazine (like 60 Minutes, VICE News, or All Things Considered), you have been assigned to deliver an informative 12-minute segment on one of the contemporary issues you and your classmates have been discussing during the past three weeks. Corporate policy requires that you consider insights from two or more academic disciplines for example: nursing and social work, or philosophical ethics, psychology, and biology. (Note: These are only examples; you are free to choose your own disciplines!) It also requires that you interview credible representatives of at least two distinct positions on the issue. You need not remain neutral on the issue; in fact, you are expected to state and defend your own position with clear reasoning in your own words.

Assessment Instructions

The final script for your production should, of course, include APA-style citations and references.

You will choose which of the complex social issues to present here. The intended audience for your segment is an intelligent but perhaps uninformed public, so this is your opportunity to engage them in an issue that matters to you.

Include the following concepts in this assessment:

1. Explain the selected issue you selected, with reference to practical instances.
2. Describe relevant contributions to the issue from at least two different academic disciplines.
3. Explain at least two distinct positions on the issue, considering each fairly.
4. Defend your own position on the issue clearly.

Assignment Requirements

Ensure your transcript is a minimum of 12 minutes in length, with notes to ensure accessibility to everyone.

Resources: Use your judgment to ensure your topic is thoroughly researched. There is no minimum number of resources required, however.

APA guidelines: Format resources and citations according to current APA style guidelines. When appropriate, use APA-formatted headings.

Font and font size: Use a font of appropriate size and weight for presentation, generally 24–28 points for headings and no smaller than 18 points for bullet-point text.

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