Champlain College, 2016: NewsActivist (Contemporary Issues Complementary Course)

About this class

This course requires students to develop individual portfolios about contemporary issues, sharing work with increasing depth as the semester progresses.

The course encourages student to develop cross-disciplinary knowledge and broaden perspectives regarding local, provincial, national, and international news, Assignments encouraging interactions with peers across campuses and borders will build broad understanding of issues in an exciting and unique manner.  

Themes addressed during teh semester involve: Journalism, Critical Thinking and Credibility of sources, Personal Voice in writing, impacts on communities of non-profits, NGOs, and socially-conscious businesses, the impact of academic research on communities, and the  possibilities of Collaboration and civic journalism in 2016.

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3 années 10 mois ago

Hi Enya!

I was really curious when I read your title and you increased my curiosity once I read your commentary about the article. Actually, this one didn’t disappoint me. I thought your comments were really completed and precise, which led me to the point that I wanted to know more about the Zika virus. I firstly thought that its situation was really ironic. Then I understood that it was attacking cells, and so for the virus it does not make any difference; the consequences about which cell it attacks only make a difference for us.

Therefore, I like the article that you are proposing, because it made me learn something new. Also, I found it very relevant to me, since I know many people that have or had cancer. Hence, I think that you had a good idea to share the article, because it touches a large amount of people. I think it is an effective way to give hope to those who need it.

By staying in the same subject, I found some articles that may interest you. The first one also comes from the New Scientist journal, but it has been published after your article. To make a short summary, it talks about a specific patient who has a chronic pancreatitis- an inflammation of the pancreas-, which is a factor risk of cancer. This type of disease causes a lot of suffering for the patients. We also know that the cancerous tumors spread out into the body by using our nerves. Including to that, our nerves make the tumor maturing. This process is well explained in the article. Thus, they found a way to stop the suffering and the growth of the tumor by "cutting" the nerves already touched. The effect is a longer and painless life for the patient.

First article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631480-200-how-hitting-our-nerv...

The second article has been published by the Scientific American journal recently. It is about the recent approval of the FDA – Food and Drugs Administration – a new treatment against cancer. The treatment consists to displace the white blood cells to the tumors. The article informs us about the process, but also on all the pros and cons. What I also find interesting is that we can get inform about the folder of the treatment (the cost, when it is going to be available, etc.). I think it is great to stay aware of that type of information, since cancer is a disease that takes a lot of place in our society.

Second article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fda-approves-second-car-t-tre...

Hope you’ll enjoy!
MariaZ_99

3 années 10 mois ago

Hello Justina!

I was very interested by your article. The discoveries the scientific community can make by observing other organisms, such as butterflies, could revolutionize science and the medical world.

Your commentary was useful and gave me the desire to read not only the article mentioned in your post, but also more about the subject. Reading about gene programmation in butterflies that influence the colour of their wings instantly made me wonder of a world where parents “program” their babies in order to reduce their risks of disease and even, perhaps, their physical appearance.

However, this thought process unconditionally raises a big ethical question. Would it be ethical to modify human genes, as we do with much of the food we consume? I did some research in order to learn more about the risks of genetical editing.

First, I got informed about the technique mentioned in your article, called CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic repeats. This technique uses the process of DNA reparation in cells to add-in or remove specific genes. Using CRISPR is not only simple and efficient, but also inexpensive. It is accessible to practically any laboratory in the scientific world. Researchers have the goal to use this relatively new technology to modify genes in embryos in order to cure diseases and modify mutations. To read more about the subject, I recommend this article, from SAGE:
http://sage.buckinstitute.org/ethical-implications-of-human-genetic-engi...

As one may presume, genome editing in embryos causes a lot of ethical debate. Until recently, only unviable embryos could be “genetically edited” for scientific research. However, in July 2017, the first viable embryos’ genome was edited, in Oregon, using CRISPR. This was done effectively, and few mistakes were made. However, once again, this created big ethical discussions worldwide. Many people are scared of what are called “designer babies,” referring to a world where parents would “design” their babies by modifying their genes until they become “perfect” to their eye. However, genetically edited embryos are not yet transplanted in placenta, and do not develop into grown humans. Many changes in regulations and laws must be done before this can happen. To read more about the subject, you could read this article from Business Insider, which describes the first genetically modified embryos and the risks behind genome editing: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-edit-dna-human-embryos-crispr-...

All in all, I really enjoyed reading your article. Although it only discusses the colour of butterflies’ wings, it links to a much bigger issue. The small discovery of a gene that dictates the colour and design of butterfly wings could have big impacts on the research on gene editing. Thank you for your article!
Simon Saad

3 années 11 mois ago

In countries like the US, it seems like obesity is a common problem. While technology has allowed an easier way of life, a casualty would be on the health. Plus, because of schools, jobs, and families, people tend to do very little to no exercise thus, increasing the chances of gaining weight. Myself included. An article by Howard (2017) included a statement that exclaims that more than 30% of american adults are obese. The article also includes some of the possible problems. For example, obesity can cause diabetes, joint problems, etc. SNAP is not the only thing that is doing things to prevent obesity. Many of us, as children to adults, has a tendency to eat junk food and we tend to go to a store expecting to buy them. Of course, many of us are also way too lazy to do any kind of exercise. Which is why many scientists are trying to develop treatments for obesity. Some of them are a bit gruesome, but do note that they are in their preliminary phases. All in all, the article shows the severity of the current problem because of our tendencies with exercise.

Howard, B. (2017). The LATEST WORD on WEIGHT LOSS. Prevention, Vol. 69 (Issue 11), p.39. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

3 années 11 mois ago

Even though many aspects in a first world country would make it believe to be peaceful, it is surprising that crime rates can continue to increase in those countries. While it is surprising to see that conflicts on social media seems to be there as many would not act beyond the scope of the internet, as it is a way to hurt others without repercussions and some even put in effort and enjoys doing it. In addition, it is true that in the year 2016 there has been an increase of crime compared to the previous year (Reilly, 2016). Plus, another article seems to also accept the fact that. in 2015, there was a slight increase in the crime rates (MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?, Nov. 2016)

Reilly, K. (2016). Violent Crime Rising in U.S. Cities Compared to 2015, Study Finds. Time, p.1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN?. (2016). Reason, vol. 48 (Issue 6), p.8. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

4 années 1 jour ago
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4 années 6 mois ago

Hi Jonathan,

While not an ethics course, this makes for a fine possibility for collaboration.

You might ask your students to comment on a post from my class and in the comment demonstrate an understanding of a theme you cover in your ethics class.

Each of your students can then apply course content in the form of  a comment associated with the contemporary issue a student in my classs wrote about, and my student can benefit from seeing an ethical angle to their post/issue of which they otherwise might not have been aware. 

Since my stduents are generally tasked with writing about contemporary issues that they believe indicate a part of the world that should be improved/changed, without elaborating their normative ethical positions, your students could be tasked with challenging and/or exposing such implicit positions.

Thanks for getting in touch!

Gabe

4 années 7 mois ago

You chose a really interesting topic who differs from the other topics posted on this website lately. A lot of people talk about Trump lately, but you took another choice and it was a good one. I never really knew much about humanism and it was interesting to know more about it.

I also feel many people don't really understand the purpose of Feminism anymore and I was happy to see someone chose and wrote about an article that understood what Feminism really meant. I am a feminist and a lot of people believe Feminism is about women being superior to men, because of the Radical Feminism. Women who promote Radical Feminism often make it in the big news instead of regular feminists since they have more controversial words. Feminism is not about being superior to men, but equal rights just like stated in your article.

I actually think a lot of women are feminist since it is natural for women to want to have equal rights, but because of today's complex about Feminism, some of us are too afraid to claim they are. I don't deny the existence of women who really don't promote equality.

I remember when someone recorded a feminist removing anti-feminism posters and the recorder was harassing the girl. The person recording was following the feminist, purposely trying to provoke her by saying feminism is cancer. This shows how many young people don't honestly understand what Feminism is about. In the end, the feminist recorded stayed calm and simply continued her task of removing the posters, not answering to the non-sense from the girl recording.

Your post helped me understand better what Humanism is and just like how people should try to understand Feminism better. It was a bit confusing at the beginning, I was not sure if Humanism was about men supremacy or not and if they did believe in god or not. I had to read a few times and the primary source as well to understand they do not promote men supremacy at all and honestly believe in scientific method. The confusing sentence was “Humanists are the type of people to criticize the ban against abortion because they view it as a form of beliefs that all non- religious people share [...]". Otherwise, it was great.

Link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFUrIVPhM84
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4 années 7 mois ago

Really interesting topic. I believe you should put your text in paragraphs and your links at the end or the beginning of your text.

I want to add that your source seems reliable, as you used another source to confirm it, but I believe you could have chosen a higher quality source, one that has more information. You could have also talked more about who wrote the article you summarized.It seems that there is no author when you look at the link you provided. No authors really makes the readers doubt about what is written in the article. The only reason it seems reliable is the other sources.

In the one I found, it adds many tweets from an individual spreading fake news about the shooter. The article focus on all the fake news about the mosque shooting, so perhaps it would have been interesting to look at this article as well.

http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/quebec-shooter-muslim-mosque-fox-news-whi...

The author is Dell Cameron,a well experienced author who investigated before about the FBI and is skilled to search the truth on Internet. His experience makes him reliable, you can read more about him on his social media page.

4 années 7 mois ago

Really interesting topic. I believe you should put your text in paragraphs and your links at the end or the beginning of your text.

I want to add that your source seems reliable, as you used another source to confirm it, but I believe you could have chosen a higher quality source, one that has more information. You could have also talked more about who wrote the article you summarized.

In the one I found, it adds many tweets from an individual spreading fake news about the shooter. The article focus on all the fake news about the mosque shooting, so perhaps it would have been interesting to look at this article as well.

http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/quebec-shooter-muslim-mosque-fox-news-whi...

The author is Dell Cameron,a well experienced author who investigated before about the FBI and is skilled to search the truth on Internet. His experience makes him reliable, you can read more about him on his social media page.

4 années 7 mois ago

Your news summary is well done. You didn't only use one source, but added another one to increase the reliability. It is not so long and certainly clear, you didn't go in too much unnecessary details.

I believe you could have added the original news source of Ryan's incident. It says he first lied to USA TODAY and it would have been interesting to quote their article about Ryan as well. I think it is reliable, since your article and other articles confirm the same information. Like I've previously said, it is also the original website that interviewed Ryan.

Their article has a slight different point of view from what really happened and also more information. According to USA TODAY, the police officer is the one who asked money to repair the damages to the property. The writer also added that Ryan will be suspended for 10 months. Otherwise, the news are the same.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/09/07/olympi...

I believe you should also provide a link to your sources.

There no collaborative classes

About the author

I'm a Humanities Teacher at Champlain College, Saint-Lambert and the designer and founder of Newsactivist. Between 2007 and the present, I've developed a course, Newsactivist, which asked students to blog about the news that they felt showed parts of the world in need of improvement.