Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Train Scenario

I think the main issue here deals with your involvement in the scenario.  In each scenario your role changes drastically and therefore the severity of your decision is altered.  Although we would like no one to die, we cannot save everyone, and therefore must choose.  In the first scenario, you are the conductor of the train and have control over who dies in the sense that you choose which track to take.  Naturally, you will choose to change the track in order to kill the fewest number of people.  Most of the class agreed with this viewpoint.  They, like me, think it is best to have the fewest people die. As the conductor, it is inevitable to avoid killing at least one person so it is best to make the decision to change the direction of the train to kill the fewest amount of people, in this case just the one railroad worker. 

            Your role is entirely different in the second scenario.  Unlike the first scenario when you are the conductor of the train, in the second you are merely an innocent bystander observing the situation.  You have an extraordinary ability to know that the train is going to kill five workers without them being able to get out of the way.  In this situation, you have the ability to push a fat man in front of the train to stop it from killing the five people; the one man would die instead of the five.  Even though in the first scenario I said it was better to have one man die instead of five, the situation presented in the second scenario causes me to change my opinion.  In the second scenario, you would be committing voluntary murder if you pushed the fat man, killing him.  You consciously made the decision to jeopardize an innocent man’s life.  The fat man should not unwillingly be put in danger just to save the five people.  If he volunteered to sacrifice himself, however, that would be a different story.  Even if you think it would be a good thing to save five people’s life, you would be put in jail and have to live with the guilt that you actually pushed someone in front of a train.  That’s just wrong in my opinion.  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Health Care Reform

The health care debate has captured the thoughts of Americans for the past few months.  President Obama’s call for health care reform in the United States by creating and mandating universal health care intrigued many citizens but at the same time, outraged many others.  This plan is outrageous.  The government is not responsible for providing health care for citizens.  When sworn in, President Obama vowed to follow the presidential duties expected of him.  These duties include following the constitution and ruling the country according to the provisions established by the founding fathers.  Nowhere in the constitution is it stated that the government should provide health care to its citizens.  The people are responsible for providing this care for themselves and determining the type of care they receive. 

In addition to the unconstitutionality of the issue at hand, providing free health care would raise the prices of all other goods, services, and amenities available to us.  The taxes and prices of everything we purchase today from gas to food will increase substantially leaving much less money in our pockets to spend on ourselves.  In addition to this increase, more money will be taken out of our income and be given to the government.  I truly believe that most of the people of the United States who support Obama’s call for universal reform are not informed of the consequences that will follow health care reform.  If they did, I am sure they would not support the reform. 

Under no circumstance should the United State change their health care system to universal care.  I believe change should occur, but it should not change so much that health care is free for all individuals.  The founding fathers did not provide for universal health care in the constitution, so therefore it is unconstitutional for us to have it.  It is not the government’s responsibility to provide free health care for its citizens; it is up to the people to seek their own health care. The United States was developed as a democratic republic and a capitalistic nation, not a socialistic one.  The citizens must learn to take responsibility for their own lives and not rely on the government to take care of them.  If someone wants great health care, they have that opportunity if they work hard to get an education, in their job, and to maintain their lifestyle.  There is a direct correlation between hard work and a successful job and the ability to have satisfying benefits such as a nice house and good health care for themselves and their families. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kami, the HIV muppet

I think the idea of introducing Kami, the HIV positive character, to the South African version of Sesame Street was extremely appropriate for the culture and it addresses the issues that face South Africa today.  However, the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has struck Africa, killing thousands and leaving millions of children without at least one parent has not spread to the United States.  Although many people in the United States live with HIV/AIDS, it is not as much of an issue here as it is in South Africa. 

I think that although it is important for Americans to know about HIV/AIDS and the seriousness of the diseases, I think teaching kids at the ages of two and three is a little extreme.  Children this young would most likely not understand about HIV and would not understand its consequences.  If Kami was to be introduced in the United States as a way to spread knowledge and combat AIDS, I do not think the intended results would occur.

I do, however, think a character such as Kami needs to be introduced to the United States.  This new character should address an issue that is present in American society today.  For example, a character that is designed to raise awareness about obesity or race issues would be more beneficial to teach kids from a young age.  Kids in America are not forced to deal with the issue of HIV/AIDS at that young of an age.  I think the appropriate time for kids in America to learn about the seriousness of HIV is when they are older, about ten or eleven years old or when the student becomes sexually active.  Kami’s name means acceptance.  I believe young kids should be taught about acceptance and encouraged to include everyone, no matter how different the other person may be.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Multiple Choice Testing

Based on my experience with multiple-choice tests, I will generally prefer to take them to essay, short answer, or especially fill in the blank tests.  Even though multiple choice tests may not be a completely accurate assessment of our knowledge of the subject matter, it has several advantages but also some disadvantages.  Traditionally, multiple-choice tests are viewed as less stressful and easier to take than essay tests.  This may not necessarily be true, but I do not worry as much going into a multiple-choice test as I would when I know I have to take an essay test.  Multiple-choice tests are much easier to grade than essay tests.  In larger classes, this form of test is the more practical option and will save the professor from excessive grading.  It is also easier to test a larger amount of material with multiple-choice tests.  The questions can also be designed to assess both factual knowledge and critical thinking.

            I also find it easier to study for multiple-choice tests.  With essay tests, I feel like I need to memorize all of the material and know absolutely everything about the topics.  However, if I knew I was going to take a multiple choice test, I would be less worried about knowing everything about the material and be able to focus more on the main ideas of the content.  If I knew key words, I would be able to pick out the right answer from the choices provided.  I would still have to study for the test, but I would not have to worry about memorizing every little detail.

            There are some disadvantages to multiple-choice testing, however.  Because I do not have to know everything about a topic, I am less likely to remember in the long run.  I have found that I am more likely to forget what I am tested over right after the test.  With essay tests, I spend so much time learning the material that I will usually remember it for long periods of time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Graduation Rates

            The four and six year graduation rates at USI are astonishingly low.  I believe these rates can be raised, however.  With time and patience we can attract more students and convince them that USI is the right school for them to graduate from.  Our incoming freshmen class is fairly constant over the past ten years.  We need to find new strategies and marketing plans to help improve USI’s reputation and attract more students for the long term, not just for their first one or two years.

            I believe one major reason people come to USI in the beginning is for the low tuition cost.  Many incoming students want to save some money while completing their core classes and then want to transfer to a bigger, more well recognized school in which to complete their degree.  One plan to help retain these students at USI rather than to lose them to other schools is to have more specialties in the majors.  For example, if USI offered other specialties within their marketing degree they would be more likely to attract students who are looking for those specialties.  Another way for USI to retain their students would be to add additional majors to give the students more options.  However, USI cannot stray from its original mission: to give a solid education to all students.  The tuition must remain relatively low and the admissions process the same. 

            Ultimately, I believe time will be the biggest contributor to USI’s success.  Because we are a relatively new school, we have not had the time to develop ourselves as deeply and thoroughly as other “big name” schools.  USI does not yet have the strong alumni base and vast funds to market itself as much as is needed.  Once the university ages, I believe it will be able to compete with large schools such as University of Evansville and Indiana University.  

End of Life Care

Death is inevitable and we must accept this fact as true in order for us to live comfortably and with the knowledge that we will be taken care of when the end of our life arrives.  Jane Brody spoke both in her interview and during her speech at USI about the importance of accepting death and making sure us and our loved ones are prepared for what will happen when death is closely approaching. 

In her speech, Jane Brody mentioned the significance the advancement of medicine and technology has played on our acceptance and view of death.  In recent years, medicine has been able to do so much more to try and save those who are sick and alleviate their suffering.  Because of this advancement in technology, the loved ones of the sick are less likely to accept death and want doctors to do absolutely everything possible to save them.  Jane Brody commented that this practice has made it more difficult to deal with or see death; we think death can now be delayed causing us to not want to deal with or accept it.  Brody said that we need to embrace death and be prepared for death to come.  She said we can do this by preparing living wills, assigning a health care agent, and making sure we know where the important documents are.

My family went through a similar situation where we did not want to deal with death that was quickly approaching.  In February 2006, my grandpa suffered a major aortic aneurism and was rushed to the ICU.  His condition worsened, he suffered strokes and the doctors said he would never be able to walk or talk again.  He could not move his arms, only his head.  This was a horrible sight to have to witness because my grandpa was a tall, strong man who I had always known to be healthy and agile.  My mom, her sisters and brother, and my grandma had an especially hard time dealing with this news and wanted to make sure the doctors would do anything they possibly could to save him and make him the man he was.  They were not ready to accept his death and wanted to prevent it.  After 25 days in the hospital, my grandpa passed away.  This news devastated our whole family.  They could not accept his death and had a hard time getting over it.  After a few months of grieving, my mom finally admitted that as much as she would like her dad to still be around, she knew he would not be happy living in a “vegetable like” state.  She finally accepted that medicine could only do so far to save him, and that she could not rely on it to prevent death.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Journal 4

I was unable to attend Gregory Williams’ talk on October 1 but after reading the article about his speech in the Evansville Courier Press I have some insight into what his speech was about and the discussion of his book Life on the Color Line.  Gregory Williams was faced with harsh racism while growing up in Muncie, Indiana but he realized that in order to be successful, he must overcome the prejudices that faced him and independently achieve his own success.  He knew he would not receive help in his journey to succeed in life; he must achieve it on his own.  Despite all odds Greg Williams overcame the racism and discrimination that faced him in Muncie and found success in life by becoming a law professor, an author, and the newly elected president of the University of Cincinnati. 

In his talk, Williams addressed the issue of racism in the United States.  He noted that although a black president runs our country, racism has not been eliminated from our society.  It is still present in many cities and controls the judgments of many citizens.  I believe this is true.  I would like to hope that people can learn to put their prejudices behind them, but I know this idealistic society does not yet exist.  The Black population still struggles with dealing with these prejudices from their white neighbors.  I hope one day I will live in a country where racism is not present and people of all races and nationalities can live in harmony.

            Another point Williams made was to say that: “Because adversity is a constant in the lives of humans, how one responds to it makes all the difference.”  Williams challenged his audience to help others get through times of adversity, to make a difference in their lives, even when it is not the easy thing to do.  By doing so will help everyone to live better lives and for the betterment of our society. Williams truly believed that, as citizens, we should all band together to support each other and help our fellow citizens succeed in life.  Williams was able to overcome prejudices and succeed in life, achieving something few black men were able to do at that point in our country’s history.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Journal 3

The environment we grow up in affects our identity and who we are as people later in life.  Our parents raise us with their values and beliefs in mind.  Usually, this installment of values and beliefs in our minds will stay with us into adulthood.  Statistics show that most kids share the same beliefs as their parents once they grow up and are on their own.  Even if they disagree with their parents when they are still adolescents and growing up, most people will return to sharing the same beliefs as their parents when they move out and start their careers.  Our identity is unique to ourselves but others around us help to shape it.

            As college students, some of us disagree with our parents’ beliefs.   This may be because we want to rebel against our parents, we want to experience new things, or we truly believe they are wrong in their beliefs.  This fact is reflected in our responses to the activity we did in class.  For the most part, our parents tended to be more biased, racist, or judgmental against people that are different than the traditional “white American.”  They especially did not want their daughters or sons to date someone who was different, but were more lenient when it came to living next or being friends with them.  The prejudices were still present, however.  Our responses for the most part were very accepting of people that are different from us both ethnically and physically.  We were more likely to answer yes when asked if we would date, be friends with, live next to, and accept others that were different.  These results determine that at this point in our lives, most of us have an identity separate from our parents.  It also shows that we tend to be more accepting of differences than our parents. 

            At this point in our lives, many of our responses reveal our independent identity from our parents.  We want to go on our own path and make our own decisions.  I think that once we grow older and have more life experiences most of us will turn back to sharing our parents’ beliefs and values.  However, some people will stay firm in the beliefs that are different than their parents through adulthood.  Everyone’s identity is unique to themselves; their values and beliefs are shaped by both their parents’ direction and their own.  Whether the person decides to follow their parents’ direction or take their own path, their identity is still partially shaped by their parents.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cheating and Academic Dishonesty

Cheating and academic dishonesty has become an apparent issue in all levels of schooling.  Even from a young age, students have been found to cheat on tests, homework, and papers by means of bringing a “cheat sheet” into class, copying answers from a neighbor, or plagiarism.  Even honors students will admit to some form of cheating in their lifetime.

            I firmly believe that cheating on a test or paper is wrong.  It obviously shows that the cheater is unprepared and it is unfair to the person who worked hard to study the material and prepare him or herself for the test.  In this sense of cheating, I believe these students are academically dishonest.

            However, I believe cheating on homework by copying answers from a friend is a different story.  Most of us have been stuck in a bind at some point and needed to copy homework in order to turn it in on time.  Because homework does not have as much weight as tests and papers, many people feel copying homework is not as big of a deal as cheating on a test.  I think it is still academically dishonest when someone copies homework but it is not a huge deal or problem.

            The university, in hopes to reduce academic dishonesty in school implemented the code of conduct.  The code-of-conduct states: “An act of academic misconduct, even a first offense, places the student in jeopardy of the most severe form of sanction – expulsion from the university.”  No one wants to be expelled from college and have that information on their record.  If someone is caught cheating, it shows bad character and responsibility when they are trying to interview for a job later in life.  The code of conduct uses strong words as a method of discouraging academic dishonesty.  The university knows this code will not prevent everyone from cheating and being academically dishonest, but they know it will greatly reduce the number of students who will cheat.  If anything, the code of conduct will cause many students to think twice before they cheat on a test or paper. Students who decide not to cheat will make it farther in life and will do better in the class overall because they will have a better work ethic than those who cheat on everything just to get the “A” in the class.  

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Journal 1

Ethical questions arise in situations across the board every day.  No matter the profession or duty of work professionals and commoners alike face a constant battle with ethical issues and dilemmas.  The clear-cut answer does not always present itself, leaving much up to debate among sides.  Oftentimes the two opposing sides to the situation disagree on their opinion of the correct outcome causing conflict.  Because ethics seeks to question morality, several different decisions can be reached for each issue.   Each person tends to take a unique stance on ethical issues.  Some will feel empathetic toward the victim and sway their decision in their victim.  Some understand the victim’s situation but must legally take action to enforce the laws.  And still others believe the government should take responsibility to help the victim and give them what they want.

            Ethical dilemmas occur between friends frequently.  Sometimes one person will take a different stance on certain issues than another.   For example, Caroline is new to town.  She meets this group of girls that seem nice and she wants to do whatever she can to make friends with them.  One Friday night, the girls take Caroline to the mall.  They tell her to steal a bottle of perfume from a store.  Caroline knows this is wrong and that her mom will be furious, but desperately wants this group of girls to like her and include her in their group.  She decides to steal the perfume because making friends was more important to her.             

            Especially as teenagers, we are faced with this dilemma or one similar to it often.  Many of us do not want to cause conflict among our friends and go along with what our friends do to fit in.  I have not been faced with this particular situation in my life, but I have experienced similar feelings to Caroline.  If I were in Caroline’s situation, I know I should do the right thing but that is not always the easy thing to do.  In this situation, Caroline’s intention was for the good; she wanted to make friends to facilitate her transition into this new town.  However, her action in stealing the perfume was an unethical decision. 

            The struggle to make ethical decisions face us every day.  I think people struggle with the difficulties of intention versus action because they do not realize that their actions affect many other people other than themselves. I do not believe that any one approach to dealing with the ethical issues is the correct approach.  Each person will approach their ethical situation differently depending on their personal values and beliefs.