Virtual Philosopher Series

By 2005 I had 5 years of online teaching experience. One flaw that bothered me was the inability to replicate the Socratic dialogue of the classroom in an online format. Utilizing my online experience together with a childhood of "choose your own adventure" books and video games I came up with an idea for an interactive exercise to try to replicate the classroom experience online. Some excellent technical support from UNCG's Division of Continual Learning  and a weekend of work resulted in the original Virtual Philosopher exercise (complete with an actor in a toga). Special Thanks to Scott Cooper for his programing expertise. 

This first attempt was well received by students and faculty alike. The following year when designing a new course on Ethics and Technology I again had a couple weeks of top level tech support. With a single day of filming and a couple weeks coding we managed a series of seven exercises to sprinkle throughout the course. While the results are well received the perils of doing so much filming in a single day (including wardrobe changes) means some things could have been presented better (re-shooting is a Hollywood luxury).

There were two downsides to this series of exercises. First, in the rush to create these in a weekend a couple of things weren't written as well as i'd like (such as the lying consistency in the original exercise).  Second, because they were created by technical support staff I could not easily make changes on my own to improve them. Despite these problems the series demonstrated what could be done with the technology. Future exercises mitigated these downsides.

Here are links to a series of interactive video exercises and their subject matter. Each was created for a specific purpose in my course but some have general application.

VP Ethics (original proof of concept)
VP#1 The Value of Human Life
VP#2 Basic Ethical Theory
VP#3 Intermediate Ethical Theory
VP#4 Distributive Justice
VP#5 Intellectual Property and Theft
VP#6 "Cookie Dough" (student favorite)
VP#7 Animal Rights

Below is a link to an article in JOLT (Journal of Online Learning and Teaching) about the  above exercises titled:
The Virtual Philosopher: Designing Socratic Method Learning Objects for Online Philosophy Courses, Karen L. Hornsby and Wade M. Maki
Article in PDF
Article in HTML
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