KIE studio class highlighted for innovative pedagogy

A new piece on Georgetown’s Designing the Future(s) of the University website highlight’s this semester’s experimental Studio 105 course, an undergraduate introduction to bioethics co-taught by the KIE’s Maggie Little and Arjun Dhillon and sponsored by the KIE’s EthicsLab.

As part of the university-wide initiative to develop boundary-crossing curricular structures, the Studio 105 class stands out among a creative cohort of experiments in university learning and student formation.

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Students are tackling real-world bioethics projects such as genome sequencing, clinical trial design for ethically complex populations, and informed consent procedures. Two EthicsLab Scholars-in-Residence will contribute their expertise, as visiting instructors and real-world project owners. Spencer Wells, a geneticist and explorer at National Geographic, will work with students to develop a protocol for truly informed consent to having their own genomes sequenced, an option open to every student enrolled in the course this semester. Jason Campagna, an anesthesiologist at critical care medicine company, will work with students on a very real puzzle: how to conduct morally sound research on medical treatments for preeclampsia, a condition of pregnancy that is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide.

“In studio courses, students are encouraged to fail publicly, and fail fast,” explains Dhillon, who as head of design at EthicsLab brings years of experience in industrial, digital, and experience design to the classroom. Project-based learning is at the heart of the studio method, in which students create tangible objects for juried critique by outside experts several times throughout the semester. Students build bioethics knowledge as they develop resilience, inquisitiveness, and collaborative skills.

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