Small Group Assignment

SPCH 1311

Mr. Andy Mangum, Dallas College


This assignment is designed to give students an exercise in communicating in a group context (SLO #3). It is also designed to give students an exercise in ethical thinking (Personal Responsibility Core Objective). As a group you will select a case study, analyze in terms of what choices your group believes the decision-makers in the situation should have made, and utilize ethical philosophical concepts to help support your position. As a group, you will create a 5-7 slide PowerPoint presentation with recorded audio narration. Each member of the small group should do a portion of the audio recording. NOTE: If your group has no clear decision, each person may present their own personal decision.


Step 1. Connect with Small Group. Mr. Mangum will work to form small groups early in the semester.

Step 2. Review the entire assignment, brainstorm a list of tasks your group needs to accomplish, set the schedule for your group work. (You will turn in the project plan).

Step 3. Choose Your Case Study

FBI & Apple Security vs. Privacy

Step 4. Form your Ethical Question. There are several types of questions we can ask about these scenarios. Questions can overlap or be in more than one category and sometimes certain questions need to be answered before the ethical questions can be assessed.

Historical/journalistic questions ask about who, what, when, where, and how events took place.

Example: In the “Bullfighting: Art or Not?" case study, an historical question might be, “How did Bullfighting emerge as a cultural phenomenon in Spanish culture?”

Scientific/technical questions ask objectively verifiable questions.

Example. In the “Cadavers in Car Safety Research,” a scientific/technical question might be— “What data, if any, about automobile collisions can be obtained from the use of cadavers in accepting simulations that cannot be obtained through other means?”

Legal questions ask about what the law currently says.

Example: In the “FBI and Apple Security vs. Privacy” case study, a legal question might be, “How do the constitutional protections around due process, lawful and unlawful searches by law enforcement apply to communication devices like cell phones?”

Cultural Questions ask about what customary practice in a family, organization, community or nationality is.

Example: In the “Miss Saigon Controversy” case study, a cultural question might be, “How have Broadway shows navigated the cultural background of the characters in plays and musicals relative to the cultural background of the actors who portray them?”

Your group may need to ask and answer historical, technical, legal, and/or cultural questions to understand the case study. However, your primary focus should be to answer an ethical question. Ethical questions focus on right or wrong. Keep in mind that your presentation will need to present arguments for at least two legitimate but distinctly different ways of answering the question.

Step 5. Working synchronously and asynchronously, your group will produce of summary of the case study. The summary should take about 1 to 2 minutes to present or be 125 to 250 words in length. NOTE: It can be longer if it needs to be. Any sources used should be identified both through a written bibliography and orally through oral footnotes.

Step 6. Step 5—Your group will meet and discuss at least two ways to answer the question. This description should include both advantages and disadvantages of each answer. The descriptions of these possibilities should last around 1 to 2 minutes apiece.

Step 7. Step 6—Your group will locate an ethical concept or frame that helps inform your decision making. The Ethics Unwrapped Website includes a video to accompany each case study. As well, you may find the “Framework for Ethical Decision Making” from Brown University to be a helpful resource. You will include your explanation of the ethical concept and how you feel it applies to your case study in your presentation.

Step 8. Step 7—Your group will decide which of the options you feel is best or most ethical. If you cannot come to consensus or majority rule through discussion, each group member may present their own arguments for the outcome they prefer.

Step 9. Step 8—Develop the PowerPoint Presentation that presents your group’s work.

One to two slidesSummarize the situation

One SlidePresent the ethical question, “The question our group wants to answer is . . ..”

One to two slidesPresent the advantages and disadvantages of two different courses of action.

One to two slidesPresent an ethical concept that informs your decision.

One to two slidesPresents the decision that your group has chosen.