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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
ПИ № ФС 77 - 51217, 16+

DOI: https://doi.org/10.23670/IRJ.2018.77.11.060

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Швец И. М. ВОЗМОЖНОСТИ УЧЕБНОГО КУРСА «БИОЛОГИЯ И КУЛЬТУРА» В РЕАЛИЗАЦИИ ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ ДЛЯ УСТОЙЧИВОГО РАЗВИТИЯ / И. М. Швец, А. А. Мальцева // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2019. — № 11 (77) Часть 1. — С. 111—119. — URL: https://research-journal.org/pedagogy/possibility-of-training-course-biology-and-culture-in-realization-of-education-for-sustainable-development/ (дата обращения: 21.05.2019. ). doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2018.77.11.060
Швец И. М. ВОЗМОЖНОСТИ УЧЕБНОГО КУРСА «БИОЛОГИЯ И КУЛЬТУРА» В РЕАЛИЗАЦИИ ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ ДЛЯ УСТОЙЧИВОГО РАЗВИТИЯ / И. М. Швец, А. А. Мальцева // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2019. — № 11 (77) Часть 1. — С. 111—119. doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2018.77.11.060

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ВОЗМОЖНОСТИ УЧЕБНОГО КУРСА «БИОЛОГИЯ И КУЛЬТУРА» В РЕАЛИЗАЦИИ ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ ДЛЯ УСТОЙЧИВОГО РАЗВИТИЯ

ВОЗМОЖНОСТИ УЧЕБНОГО КУРСА «БИОЛОГИЯ И КУЛЬТУРА» В РЕАЛИЗАЦИИ ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ ДЛЯ УСТОЙЧИВОГО РАЗВИТИЯ

Научная статья

Швец И.М.1, *,Мальцева А.А.2

1 ORCID: 0000-0002-3661-670X;

2 ORCID: 0000-0002-1766-9486;

1, 2 Нижегородский государственный университет им. Н.И. Лобачевского, Нижний Новгород, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (irina.shvets[at]hotmail.com)

Аннотация

Статья посвящена обсуждению результатов освоения междисциплинарного учебного курса «Биология и культура», апробированного в магистратуре по направлению «Биология». Авторы уделяют внимание проблеме внедрения идей междисциплинарности знаний в учебный процесс с позиций концепции устойчивого развития; анализируется потенциал изменений в содержательном компоненте и в отношении образовательных результатов в связи с реализацией образования для устойчивого развития. Показано, что формированию сложносоставной биоэтической компетенции, включающей исследовательские умения и нравственное отношение на основе принципов биоэтики и идей концепции устойчивого развития, поспособствует разработка междисциплинарного курса, направленного на освоение метапредметных понятий и концептов, имеющих не только общенаучное, но и общекультурное значение. Проанализированы результаты опросов студентов-биологов ННГУ им. Н.И. Лобачевского за 2014-2017 гг., а также продукты учебной деятельности магистрантов, осваивавших курс «Биология и культура». Получены результаты, позволяющие оценить эффективность образовательного процесса, а также степень усвоения метапредметных понятий и умений и сформированности биоэтической компетенции в целом.

Ключевые слова: междисциплинарные учебные курсы, междисциплинарность, образование для устойчивого развития, метапредметные образовательные результаты, биоэтическая компетенция, отношение к биоэтическому знанию, прогнозирование последствий внедрения научных знаний.

POSSIBILITY OF TRAINING COURSE “BIOLOGY AND CULTURE” IN REALIZATION OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Research article

Shvets I.M.1, *, Maltseva A.A2

1 ORCID: 0000-0002-3661-670X;

2 ORCID: 0000-0002-1766-9486;

1, 2 Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

*Corresponding author (irina.shvets[at]hotmail.com)

Abstract

The article is devoted to the discussion of the results of mastering the interdisciplinary training course “Biology and Culture”, tested in the magistracy in the direction “Biology”. The authors pay attention to the problem of introducing the ideas of interdisciplinarity into the educational process from the standpoint of the concept of sustainable development; analyzes the potential for changes in the content component and educational results in connection with the implementation of education for sustainable development. It is shown that the formation of bioethical competence, including research skills and moral attitude based on the principles of bioethics and ideas of the concept of sustainable development, will contribute to the development of the interdisciplinary course. This course is aimed at mastering metadisciplinary concepts that have not only general scientific, but cultural significance. Analyzed the results of surveys of students of biology at Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod for 2014-2017, as well as the products of educational activities of Master’s degree students who have completed the course “Biology and Culture”. Results have been obtained that allow to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational process, as well as the degree of assimilation of metasubject concepts and skills and the formation of bioethical competence in general.

Keywords: interdisciplinary teaching course, interdisciplinarity, education for sustainable development, meta-subject educational results, bioethics competence, attitude towards bioethical knowledge, forecasting the consequences of the introduction of scientific knowledge.

Introduction

The article deals with the actual problem of introducing ideas of interdisciplinary knowledge in the educational process from the standpoint of the Sustainable Development (SD) concept; attention is drawn to bioethical issues that determine the moral guidelines in the implementation of SD ideas; the changes in the content component and the main educational results related to the implementation of the SD concept are being analyzed. It is shown that the development of moral relations based on bioethical principles that contribute to the formation of research skills from the perspective of the SD concept can be promoted by interdisciplinary training courses that disclose bioethical positions both in the practical aspect of carrying out biological and ecological research and in the theoretical aspect of studying concepts that do not have only scientific, but also general cultural significance.

Materials and methods

During the testing of interdisciplinary training courses “Bioethical problems in biological and ecological research” and “Biology and culture” in the master’s degree program “Biology” the diagnostic methods wre used and directed to identification of intensity level of the attitude towards bioethical knowledge, aspects of activity of the biologist-researcher and, in general, to formation of bioethical competence. In research were analysed the data of polls of biology students of Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod for 2014-2017 and also the products of their educational activity received during approbation of training courses. Statistical processing of results is carried out.

Results

The results that allowing to reveal levels of formation of bioethical competence at the experimental group of students are received. At the ascertaining stage of the experiment the majority of students are distributed at the low and medium levels of intensity of the attitude to bioethical knowledge, weak formation of metaskills are observed. At the control stage the number of students with the medium and high level of intensity of the attitude to bioethical knowledge grows, the numerical increase in development of the main metaconcepts and skills are also observed.

Discussion and Conclusions

The results of approbation of the interdisciplinary training courses show that the basic metaconcepts and skills were formed at the medium and high levels. Further it is necessary to pay more attention to the development of active learning methods, new pedagogical technologies and to use the potential of traditional disciplines for the formation of the bioethical competence.

Introduction

The education today is experiencing worldwide a sort of crisis caused by numerous recessionary changes in the human and environmental relationship. Certain hopes are put on the education system in the issue of changing the attitude of the younger generation to the surrounding world, changing the consciousness and practical skills of students not only in the rearrangement of the world but also in the perception thereof and in the prediction of consequences to preserve life on the Earth. The ideas of the advanced education and environmental education have become of the major importance for changes in education systems [1], [2], [3]. These ideas find their real implementation in the education model associated with the sustainable development strategy.

The sustainable development strategy suggested the contours of a new model for the civilization development in the third millennium, wherein one of the major roles is assigned to the education. To date, the international document base of education has already been accumulated for the sustainable development [4]. It has been greatly extended throughout the Decade of the Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). In our country the education for the sustainable development (ESD) is mainly implemented through the ecological or environmental education. Notwithstanding with its priority status the environmental education may not fully implement the ESD. These are quite different types of education.

 In many world countries the ESD is implemented with reflecting not only ecological but also social, humanitarian, economic, technical and technological components. In our country all the said components are covered by the environmental education, so, it is even called the environmental education for the sustainable development [5]. Its development is assumed through the futurization, it means by the way of forecasting and preventing any negative consequences. But currently it still pays more attention to eliminating of negative consequences of the human transforming activity. Unfortunately, while researchers in the field of the environmental education for sustainable development (EESD) are searching for mechanisms of its futurization, the environmental education itself is gradually losing its positions in the general education system as evidenced by the fact that in the nineties of the last century the subject of Ecology had the status of a federal component but nowadays it has just the status of a school component.

It is quite possible that the EE has lost its positions because of the impossibility to implement integration processes in education arranged as per the subject type. Through such a subject type only interdisciplinary links might be implemented and partially the consideration of some ecological problems which are more of an environmental concern. But the integration even in such an educational subject as Ecology has much deeper relations, especially when transferring to the social and economic spheres. Despite the fact that textbooks and teaching aids suggesting deeper levels of integration have been published [6, 7] and even teachers have been trained, who are able to give lessons with the necessary level of integration processes, the EE has lost its status of federal significance and began to be implemented as a part of a school component, i.e. only in those educational institutions where teachers are the EE enthusiast.

Literature Review

The education for sustainable development implies the integration of both the knowledge and activity skills in the field of ecology, sociology, economics, ethics, jurisprudence and any other areas. Such education requires the revision in values and objectives of the education, in content, forms, methods and techniques of teaching and upbringing, in the results and effectiveness of achieving thereof. Many developers and researchers of the environmental education believe that changes in all the main elements of the education system should result from their ecologization [8].

The idea of “the reverence for life” [9] is the main idea, which determines the value changes in the education. To implement it, new moral guidelines are required, which suggest the revision of the human place in the biosphere from the positions of permissiveness in relation to natural objects to the position of the global responsibility for preserving life on the Earth in all its manifestations and at all levels. The principal values in the implementation of the idea of “the reverence for life” become values associated with moral and environmental imperatives [10]. Such environmental imperatives mostly imply changes in respect of the environment (that is mainly the case in the environmental education system) but moral imperatives put the main emphasis on the demand for understanding the internal human nature and on its aligning with external requirements of the social medium without detriment to the natural environment and the internal nature. Since natural laws must be maintained and preserved, the only variable factor shall be requirements of the social medium. They are desirable both at the moral level and in the legislative embodiment through formulations reflecting not only requirements for the development of society itself but also requirements for the sustainable state of the biosphere as a global system and requirements for the development and realization of each personality without disrupting its links with the surrounding world.

Changes in the content of the education for SD are mainly concentrated at scenarios of the following three models: science-centered, person-centered and culture-centered ones [11]. Any academic subject is arranged as per a certain model. In the science-centered model subjects of the natural science cycle (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, Physical Geography) use ecological sciences and technologies as sources for the ESD and promote first of all the development of the students’ scientific-cognitive and educational activities. In the person-oriented model the main sources for the content selection in the ESD shall be certain practices mainly implementable in liberal art subjects and socio-applied disciplines (Literature, Music, Foreign language, Life Safety, Fine arts, etc.). The culture-centered model determines the formation of the personal experience at cultural creation in the interdisciplinary field through mastering various activities represented in a certain culture.

The selection of methods and pedagogical technologies for the ESD implementation is generally represented by the same means, which begin to prevail in the entire education system in view of its transition to the person-oriented teaching. The methodological system for the ESD implementation envisages the cooperation of educational subjects through the transdisciplinarity and enculturation [12].

The most significant changes associated with the ESD implementation are expected in the main educational results. Those guides which are designated in objectives of the ESD development, especially through the ecologization of the education content, imply the possibility for mastering not only the knowledge and skills pertinent to certain subject domains but also meta-concepts and meta-skills to be simultaneously inherent to different subject fields in order to use them in arranging various activities taking into account environmental and ethical imperatives upon the completion of the study. Thus, among possible meta-concepts there are such ones as: “human qualities”, “environmental quality”, “life quality”, “sustainable development” [8]. This series may be continued by: “personality development”, “imperative”, “bioethics”, “technological stability” etc.

Researchers distinguish for ESD among the meta-skills such faculties as “the forecasting of ecological and ethical consequences of professional activity”, “the preventing of possible emergence of sustainable development problems through improving the effectiveness of technological innovation without no need of changing the main SD values”, “the creative solution of problems based on SD ideas” “the participation in joint responsible actions assisting to advance towards the society of sustainable development”, “the congruence of interests of different population layers in solving environmental problems”, “the ensuring of the broad concord in society based on ideas of sustainable development and self-restrictions”. The analysis of ESD conceptions implemented in our country and in western education models shows that the SD ideas are generally implemented through the development of environmental) education [13]. The main emphasis in developing the necessary skills is put in the said models on the elimination of after-effects from solving various environmental problems. The ESD conceptions place in the line with the elimination of such after-effects the problems of their prevention through implementing the “triple link” of the environment, the economy and the social sphere as well as the intergeneration continuity not on the basis of greater profit but on the basis of preserving the life on the Earth. The ESD should acquire characteristics of not only ecologization but futurization as well [4].

Materials and Methods

The formation of such complex skills based on the learned meta-concepts should theoretically promote the further professional activity in the current educational system on the basis of ecological and ethical imperatives. Nevertheless, that does not happen yet in our opinion not only because these are very hard skills but also because the modern education system pays little attention to such a notion as “the creation of attitude towards knowledge obtained”. A certain relation to knowledge should become an additional link connecting two methodological elements: “knowledge” and “skill.”

The proofs for the fact that more attention should be paid to the categories of “attitudes towards gained knowledge” were obtained by us during the pedagogical experiment at the Institute of Biology and Biomedicine, the Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod. The purpose of the pedagogical experiment was to study the formation of bioethical competence in the course of teaching Biology to students. When studying the formation of that competence it was found out that for students it is obviously not enough just to understand only knowledge from the field of bioethics and to develop some skills for their application. It is more important in the field of bioethics to develop a special attitude to bioethical knowledge because bioethical positions are frequently perceived as competitive in respect to professional positions. Perhaps the negative attitude to such bioethical positions is also conditioned by the decrease in the overall level of ethical relations in society but this is a separate study.

In our study based on the system of levels of moral relation proposed by V.P. Myasishchev [14] we have developed a system for the manifestation of bioethical relations consisting of the following five levels:

– Level I – there are neither knowledge of bioethics nor bioethical relation;

– Level II – bioethic knowledge is available but the attitude is not worked out as students do not see the field of their use;

– Level III – unstable bioethical relations exist mostly under the external influence, i.e. students understand that bioethical knowledge is to be used but they perceive it as a load and they do not always use thereof;

– Level IV – the positive attitude towards bioethical positions is expressed verbally, i.e. students are able to identify and discuss bioethical problems and their solutions;

– Level V – the positive attitudes towards bioethical positions are expressed in actions characterized by the ability to predict the ethical and environmental consequences of introducing the results of biological and especially biotechnological research into real practice and based on self-restraint abilities in their professional activities in cases of revealing any negative consequences of ethical and ecological nature till the time instant enabling to prevent or overcome these consequences.

Results

The purpose of the pedagogical experiment was to show if one course of Basics of Bioethics recommended for the compliance with FSES HE (Federal State Educational Standard of Higher Education) 3+ would be enough. After attending the said course of study the distribution of students as per the intensity of the attitude towards bioethical knowledge was as follows: 19% of the total number of students were at level I , 21% were at level II, the majority of students (43%) was at level III and 17% of students were at level IV [15]. Thus, only every fifth or even every sixth student was able to discuss and express a reasonable judgment about the solution of bioethical problems. The rest students were divided into two much the same groups: the first group included students who had a poor knowledge of bioethics and therefore they do not form any attitude towards it (levels I and II). The other group consisted of students, who despite their knowledge of bioethics did not understand how they might use thereof in their further professional activities. The above distribution was obtained based on the analysis of such educational products as writing abstracts, essays, the fulfilling of a task to predict any consequences of some lines of research activities in the field of biology, biotechnology, biomedicine, ecology for identifying and possible solving problems in bioethics and bioethical education.

When analyzing the products of educational activity the assessment given by a teacher reflects, in fact, his/her subjective position both in respect to a product analyzed and in respect to a trainee. It is equally important to know also the trainee’s subjective assessment of the fact how he/she has studied and learned what he/she was taught, that is, his/her self-assessment. To determine such self-assessment and one’s attitude to the obtained knowledge, we have elaborated in our study a special Questionnaire which would enable us to identify the intensity of the attitude to knowledge gained in the field of bioethics. This Questionnaire was elaborated by analogy with the Questionnaire titled Naturaphil [16]. But the Naturaphil Questionnaire reveals the intensity of the attitude to biological objects, while our Questionnaire identifies it to bioethical knowledge.

The said elaborated Questionnaire contained questions which enabled us to determine the attitude of the students to acquired knowledge in the field of bioethics, to certain skills in using this knowledge, to correlation of such obtained knowledge and skills with certain value bases. So, by using our elaborated Questionnaire it was possible to determine the evidence of the main components of bioethical competence being formed but not from the teacher’s position but from the trainees’ one [17]. The Questionnaire enabled us to identify groups of students with a low-level intensity of attitudes towards bioethical knowledge (it corresponds to levels I and II of the above relationship system), with a medium level (corresponding to level III) and a high level (corresponding to levels IV and V).

The comparison of results obtained in the said distribution as per the level of the intensity of the trained students’ attitude to bioethical knowledge by analyzing learning products and by using the elaborated Questionnaire convinced us in the consistency of results obtained and in the adequacy of the students’ self-assessments (Fig. 1).

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Fig. 1 – The Distribution of Students as per the Intensity of Their Attitude towards Bioethical Knowledge Obtained by Different Methods (% to the total number of students questioned)

1 – Obtained by analyzing educational products; 2 – Identified by using a specially developed questionnaire

 

At the ascertaining stage of the three-year experiment it was shown that the distribution of students as per the intensity of their attitudes towards bioethical knowledge before attending the course of Basics of Bioethics was nearly the same in different years. Some noted deviations were within statistical error limits (Fig. 2).

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Fig. 2 – The Distribution of the Third-Year Students as per the Intensity of Their Attitudes toward Bioethical Knowledge (in % of the total number of students of the year of study)

Total number of questioned students: 2014-2015 – 83, 2015-2016 – 90, 2016-2017 – 78.

 

Much the same distribution as per levels of the intensity of attitude towards bioethical knowledge was observed among the same students when they were bachelors (in 2014-2015 academic year), then graduated bachelors (2015-2016 academic year) and students for the master’s degree (in 2017-2018 academic year (Fig. 3).

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Fig. 3 – The Distribution of Students as per the Intensity of Their Attitudes toward Bioethical Knowledge for the Same Students When They Were in:­

2014-2015 – Third-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program; 2015-2016 – Bachelors Graduates; 2017-2018 – Master’s-Degree Candidates

 

The third-year students of the bachelor’s degree program have not yet studied the course of Fundamentals of Bioethics and graduates of the bachelors’ program have listened to this course. That is what may explain an increasing number of students with a high level of the intensity of bioethical knowledge. But the increasing number of graduate bachelors and master’s degree students with a low level of intensity of their attitudes as well as a decreasing number of master’s degree-students with a high level of intensity as compared to the number of graduates with the same level of intensity may be explained by the fact that when carrying out the research work (that is what distinguishes master’s degree students and graduate bachelors from third-year students of the bachelor’s degree program) recommendations for compliance with bioethical norms and requirements compete with requirements for the prompt fulfillment of research works ant the latter will be “winners” in such a competition.

Thus, the results of the ascertaining stage in the pedagogical experiment have shown that one course of Fundamentals of Bioethics is obviously insufficient for the formation of bioethical competence.

The subsequent discussion of the hypothesis and tasks of the formative stage in the pedagogical experiment have enabled us to assume that for the purposes of forming bioethical competence it is desirable to envisage and reflecting the educational course:

– the main ideas of the conception of the society and nature co-evolution contributing to the development of moral criteria for human social activity not only in the environment modification but also in preserving the internal human nature in accordance with ideas of the sustainable development concept;

– laws of development of interdisciplinarity in higher educational institutions.

From this point of view the course of study were elaborated for magistracy in the field of Biology. This course of “Biology and Culture” includes basic sections dealing with concepts, which have “matured” in biology and spread to other scientific areas and have determined the development of certain cultural trends. Such concepts include the notions of “system”, “evolution”, “bioethics”. Training course were also elaborated for the pedagogical experiment reflects to a greater degree the interests of biology researchers, who prefer theoretical studies and seek to propagate bioethical ideas.

The concept of “evolution” has led at the present stage of the society development to the consideration of two fundamental abstractions, which require both the philosophical and cultural apprehension. The first abstraction is associated with a phenomenon that the evolution being manifested in all hierarchical levels of the world arrangement from pre-biological to evolutionary levels in human history and the evolution of the “supermind” becomes the idea of the global evolutionism or the universal principle of evolutionism. The second abstraction substantiates and acquires the general cultural significance as the concept of “co-evolution” through the reflection of the interface mechanism for the arrangement of material and social systems and is currently considered as a prerequisite for the formation of the culture of sustainable development.

The notions of “system”, “systematicity” first theoretically presented in Bertalanffy’s works to explain and understand biological regularities have to date gained the methodological significance for the development of the whole science and the perception appeared that the totality of categories for explaining not only natural but also social phenomena varies depending on types of system objects being mastered by science.

The concept of bioethics becomes of a particular importance for the culture development. Bioethics currently deals with ethical issues related to biology and medicine but it is just now, at this stage of its development. It should be noted that consequences of the development of any sciences, thus ensuring the more comfortable living for a person, should be so that determinants of natural conditions of life were preserved. In a more general theoretical and philosophical context bioethics is focused on identifying, analyzing and solving issues related to the ultimate characteristics of human and nature being. The same questions should be faced by researchers of other sciences, including natural sciences and the humanities, which will determine bioethical guidelines in their development [18].

At the control stage of the pedagogical experiment the same Questionnaire was used to determine the intensity of the attitude to bioethical knowledge as well as the following questionnaires: 1) “Aspect” for revealing the intensity of the attitude to various aspects of the research biologist’s life; 2) a questionnaire for identifying the academic motivation [19].

The Questionnaire for the assessment of the intensity of the attitude towards bioethical knowledge was used among the second-year master’s-degree candidates before and after the completion of the course “Biology and Culture”. The analysis of the responses to this Questionnaire showed the following results: before studying the said academic course 93.7% of the master’s degree candidates were distributed at the low and medium levels of the intensity of the attitude to bioethical knowledge. And only 6.25% of all the master’s degree candidates were at the high level of the intensity of their attitude to bioethical knowledge.

 

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Fig. 4 – The distribution of the number of questioned students as per levels of their attitude to bioethical knowledge before and after teaching the course of “Biology and Culture”

 

Upon the completion of learning this interdisciplinary course the increasing number of the master’s degree candidates at the high (from 6.25 to 13.4%) and medium (from 45.8 to 67.3%) levels and a decreasing one at the low (from 47.9 to 19, 2%) level of the intensity of their attitude to bioethical knowledge (Fig. 4).

This Questionnaire helped to trace changes in the reflection of such main components as value, cognitive, operation-effective, activity-based bioethical competence. It was shown that most of all the expressiveness of the operation-effective (by 11.6%) and activity (by 6.7%) components increase, while the value and cognitive constituents increase slightly (by 1.3 and 1.9% respectively). It proves that the approbated academic course have a more pragmatic orientation in the formation of bioethical competence.

The Aspect Questionnaire revealed that the elaborated interdisciplinary academic course changes most greatly the awareness of oneself as a research biologist. The rest aspects of relations (moral and ethical, to the environment, to one’s health and to the relationships with others) did not change during the study of the said elaborated courses.

The Questionnaire for the identification of the educational motivation orientation including 20 statements with a dichotomous yes/no response scale generally showed the following result: 77% of respondents emphasized that the subject under study was interesting and they would like to know as much as possible; 86.5% of the candidates for the master’s degree noted that the course gave an opportunity to learn a lot of important information for themselves, to demonstrate their abilities; they found knowledge obtained from that course to be valuable. Nevertheless, only 17.3% of students noted that their interests and hobbies were related to the subject of the course and 26.9% would rather prefer to be given a pass grade for the course than to obtain knowledge and would agree to exclude the course from the curriculum.

To assess the effectiveness of the educational process and the degree of development of the bioethical competence, we also used an analysis of the products of educational activities.

As part of the work on the course “Biology and Culture”, one of the classes ended with a self-observation questionnaire. Analyzing the questionnaires, we can see that students most often mark quick adaptation to the text and highlighting the main information when working with it, finding answers to questions posed as their academic achievements, also participating in discussions / discussions on the topic of the lesson, expressing their point of view and listening to opinions of fellow students.

The final assignment for this course consisted in writing a thesis on the interaction of biology and bioethics with other spheres of human activity. It should be noted that at the beginning of the class on this topic, students had difficulty using the keywords, both orally, when composing questions from these words, and when trying to write a text. As keywords were used such concepts and meta-concepts as “sustainable development”, “biological literacy”, “integration of sciences”, “global crisis”, “interdisciplinary approach”, “popularization of science”, etc.

Analysis of the works submitted after the class showed that all the work could be divided into two groups. In the first group (a third of the works), students described in general terms the importance of biology for other spheres of human activity. In the first place in these works the importance of biology in medical research and the development of biomedical technologies is indicated, agriculture and environmental protection (environmental problems) are less frequently mentioned.

In the second group of works (two thirds) are more specific arguments on a given topic. The most frequent were theses, revealing the problem of biological illiteracy of the population, the relationship of biology with education. Several works were devoted to the disclosure of the social value of biology through the description and consideration of such new interdisciplinary areas as biopolitics, biophilosophy, bio-aesthetics, bionics. At the same time, several works had a very narrowly focused and applied nature in their content: for example, one of the students discussed the problem of the relationship between biology and energy, biology and tourism, biology and cybernetics. Discussed and issues of interaction of biology with art, architecture, painting, photography. These works reflect, in fact, the formation of such a meta-skill as the ability to perceive and be aware of the surrounding reality in the unity of natural and socio-cultural components.

The results of the trials of the said interdisciplinary course “Biology and Culture” show that, in general, the courses appeared to be useful and interesting for candidates for the master’s degree, basic concepts and metaconcepts as well as certain meta-skills were formed at medium and high levels.

Thus, the assumptions brought forth in the hypothesis on the need to solve the problem for the formation of bioethical competence through interdisciplinary academic courses have been confirmed: during approbation and trials both through analysis of products of students’ learning activities and through the self-analysis of trainees in respect of the intensity of their attitude to obtained interdisciplinary knowledge, including bioethics.

Финансирование

Эта статья подготовлена по результатам работы, проведенной при поддержке Российского фонда фундаментальных исследований (РФФИ) (№ 16-06-00651-OGN).

Funding

This article was prepared on the results of the work carried out with the support of the Russian Foundation For Basic Research (RFBR) (№ 16-06-00651-OGN). 

Конфликт интересов

Не указан.

Conflict of Interest

None declared.

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