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Online · College of Arts & Sciences · Philosophy

Introduction to Ethics

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the principles and techniques of rational decision making in morality. It includes a survey of ethical theories, a review of the basic principles of critical reasoning, and applications of both to moral issues.





Students at Liberty University are exposed to courses that introduce critical thinking about moral issues. While they highly value this aspect of their education, many would benefit from a treatment of ethical issues that is deeper and more systematic. This course proceeds from a very approachable introduction to ethical theories to a guided interactive exploration of practical ethical issues that are not covered in their other General Education courses.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe a range of systematic approaches to ethical decision making including but not limited to Christian approaches to ethical decision making.
  2. Formulate his or her own systematic approach to ethical decision making.
  3. Identify and describe a range of positions and arguments relevant to the moral issues discussed in class and in the assigned reading.
  4. Apply his or her approach to ethical decision making to the moral issues discussed.

General Education Foundational Skill Learning Outcomes (FSLOs): Critical Thinking (CT)

  1. CT 1: Determine the validity and logical consistency of claims and/or positions, using reading comprehension strategies when relevant.
  2. CT 2: Structure an argument or position using credible evidence and valid reasoning.
  3. CT 3: Compare and contrast the biblical worldview with a non-biblical worldview, evaluating the influence of assumptions and contexts on ethics and values.
  4. CT 4: Plan evidence-based courses of action to resolve problems.
  5. CT 5: Relate critical thinking and ethics to participation in God’s redemptive work.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Jones, Michael S. Moral Reasoning: An Intentional Approach to Distinguishing Right from Wrong. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2017.

McQuilken, Robertson, and Paul Copan. An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2014. 

Stivers, Laura A., Christine E. Gudorf, and James B. Martin-Schramm. Christian Ethics: A Case Method Approach. 4th ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office
    5. Turabian formatting information:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. The student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Discussion board threads must be between 500-600 words in length and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 1 other classmate’s thread. The student should try to respond to a classmate who has not received a reply yet. The reply must be at least 500-600 words in length.

Capstone Essay

Each student will write a 2100-2400 word paper in current Turabian format that further develops the insights and arguments of the student’s third and fourth Discussion Boards into a single, carefully-articulated work. This paper is not required to utilize any sources outside of those that were used in the class (the two textbooks, the videos, and the narrated PowerPoint presentations), but use of additional resources is permitted and encouraged. At the minimum the paper should utilize the resources from the class.

Quizzes (8)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned module(s)/week(s). Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 multiple-choice questions, and have a 30 minute time limit.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forum Threads (4 at 50 pts ea)


Discussion Board Forum Replies (4 at 50 pts ea)


Capstone Essay


Quizzes (8 at 50 pts ea)




Course Policies


Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

900-1010 800-899 700-799 600-699 0-599

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


ETHC 101


Jones, Moral Reasoning (2017).

McQuilken & Copan, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (2014).

Stivers et al., Christian Ethics (2012).


Reading & Study




Jones: chs. 1-2

Stivers et al.: part 1

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1 Thread

Quiz 1






Jones: chs. 3-4

Stivers et al.: part 2

1 presentation

DB Forum 1 Reply

Quiz 2




Jones: chs. 5-6

Stivers et al.: part 3

1 presentation

DB Forum 2 Thread

Quiz 3




Jones: chs. 7-8

Stivers et al.: part 4

1 presentation

DB Forum 2 Reply

Quiz 4




Jones: ch. 9

Stivers et al.: part 5

2 presentations

DB Forum 3 Thread

Quiz 5




Jones: ch. 10

Stivers et al.: part 6

1 presentation

DB Forum 3 Reply

Quiz 6




McQuilken & Copan: chs. 14 & 18

1 Journal Article

3 presentations

DB Forum 4 Thread

DB Forum 4 Reply

Quiz 7





McQuilken & Copan: chs. 22 & 23

2 presentations

Capstone Essay

Quiz 8





DB = Discussion Board



NOTE: Each course module/week (except Module/Week 1) begins on Tuesday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Monday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.