Medical Ethics PHIL 148 @ Binghamton University, Sum 11


Day 01 (Due: 5/31, Midnight EST)


Hello all and welcome to the first day of Medical Ethics.  My name is Brandon Davis-Shannon and I'll be your instructor for the next five weeks. We'll have more in depth introductions tomorrow, but let's just jump in for now.

If this is your first time taking an online course, there is going to be a bit of a learning curve.  If this is not your first time, there still may be a bit of a learning curve depending on the courses you've taken and the instructors you've had.  Either way, this week we're going to slowly go through the process of learning all the different ways of interacting in the course.

My first suggestion is that you review the Syllabus, Learning Packet, Schedule, Rubrics, and Examples (if you haven't already).  You can reach these sections by clicking the links along the top of the site, below the title of the course, or by clicking the links in this post.   If you have any questions, feel free to email me or--more usefully for the class--comment on the page (if you are logged in a comment box appears at the bottom of most of the course documents).  Take some time to get acquainted with the layout and location of all the different resources.   Click on Reading and take a look at that site, look over the texts.  Feel free to practice commenting on the text in the "Instructions" section of the site.

Your Profile

By now, you should have received an invite to become a member of the site.  You must be a member to comment and post to the site and to read the course texts.  Before you follow the link in your site invitation, however, read these instructions.  I recommend keeping these open in a different tab/window after you follow the link.

After you follow the link, you should be taken to your Profile page.  If you are not, you can reach your Profile by going to the gray bar at the top of the screen, hovering over your name, and clicking "Edit My Profile."  If you can't get to your Profile, please let me know immediately.

On your Profile page, there are several different sections: Personal Options, Name, Contact Info, About Yourself, and Avatar Upload.  Leave the sections under Personal Options alone.  Our focus is on the other sections.


Fill out all of the sections under Name.  After doing so, you can choose what you want your name to appear as using the drop down menu next to "Display name publicly as."  Choose how you want everyone else to see your name when you post and comment.  I highly recommend using your first or whole name (keep in mind that the main site is public when you decide what to use).  However, I am not strict about this and so long as your are easily recognizable, you may use whatever nickname you want.

Contact Info

You may fill out any of the contact info you like.  An email is required, but if you do not use your Binghamton email, you may change it to your preferred.  Beyond that, no other info is required.  Again, keep in mind that any info you put may be displayed publicly (all that is set to be displayed at this time is "Website").  Your email will never be viewable by anyone who is not a member of the site.

About Yourself

Now we get to the more interesting part.  In "Biographical Info," tell the class a little about yourself (as always, remember that this is public).  Your info must be at least 75 words, but it can be any length above that.  This information will be displayed on your personal author page, which will be linked on all of your posts, and on the list of people accessible, curiously, by clicking the "People" link at the top of this page.  Tell us about your major, your interests, something about your life, why you are taking this class, or anything else you would like to share.

Important: Make sure that you fill out the "New Password" section the first time you visit your profile.  Your initial password is gobbledygook--you should choose something that you can remember.

Avatar Upload

Finally, it's time to upload an image that will represent you to the class.  It can be a picture of you or an image that represents something important about you.  Put some thought into what image you would like to be attached to every comment and post you make on the site.

If you are using Twitter, you can simply input your user id in the "Twitter ID" field and your image from there will be used here (if you have one there).  Additionally, if you have a Gravatar avatar, you can do nothing here and the avatar will default to that image (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry about it).

However, if you have neither of those things, or would like to use a different image, click "Browse" and choose an image from your computer.  As the section says, small, square images are the best, but the site will make do.

Extremely Important: When you are done, click "Update Profile."  If you don't do this, nothing you changed will be saved!

Check out the "People" page and click your name to see everything you wrote!


If you've decided to do the extra credit for the course and you don't already have an account, it's time to sign up for one.  Head on over to the Twitter site.

I highly recommend doing this. It is easy extra points and it provides a steady flow of unmediated information for the class.   Remember, you can use it to share links to bioethics stories and information you have found or just to ask the class questions or make random comments.  Always include the hashtag #phil148 (no spaces) in your tweets.  Otherwise, they won't show up on the course site!

Go ahead an tweet anything (something personal, something about bioethics, something about the course).  Be sure to include the hashtag #phil148.

If you are registered for the course from Day 01, you should try and complete your Profile and Twitter account by midnight 5/31.  Stay on top of the assignments and material from the very start!

Mobile Device Access

The main course site (not the readings) is available in a mobile version, so if you are out and about, you can check in on the class on your phone or iPod--you can even comment!  Please keep in mind that when commenting from a phone, you should still use proper grammar and spelling.  After all, these are graded assignments.

Note: Although the mobile site should work on Android and iOS enabled phones, I have only tested it on iOS.  Please let me know if you have any problems accessing it from an Android phone.

Coming Soon

This week, you'll be introduced to the  foundational concepts and basic ethical theories that you will be using throughout the other four weeks of the course.  As you learn this material, we'll practice commenting and posting on the site and do sample Reading Day and Debate Day assignments to give you a feel for the form of the class.

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