My Course Wish List

Your list is empty.

Explore online education in Tennessee

PRST 5100/6100/7100 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5100/6100/7100 - Professional Studies: Issues and Ethics

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the normative study of ethics and values and how professionals apply ethical concepts in their work lives. This class explores ethics theories, common workplace ethical dilemmas, and approaches professionals can use to solve ethical dilemmas and maintain integrity in their work lives. Students will learn about ethics through textbook readings, journal article readings, study of Internet sources, through discussion with other class members, assignments/exams, and personal reflection. The course is designed in a general way so that professionals in a variety of work areas can benefit from the course. General concepts are provided to assist psychologists, teachers, public administrators, business managers, sociologists, scientists, healthcare workers, etc. in understanding the importance and application of ethical decision making to their professions. 

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will: 

  • Discuss the role and importance of ethics and values in professional work environments.
  •  Identify social responsibility programs for organizations and individuals, and evaluate its role and importance to society.
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas in the workplace.
  •  Apply ethical judgment to situations and identify an ethical plan of action based on the ethical decision making theories learned.
  • Outline basic components of an ethics program for their organization with recommendations for implementing. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program or departmental approval. 

Course Topics:

The course is divided into six (6) modules.

  •  Module 1: Academic Integrity and Critical Thinking (variety of articles and videos, accessible online)
  • Module 2: Ethics Defined (Chapters 1, 2, and 3 from the text, Meaningful Work)
  • Module 3: Social Responsibility and Client Issues (Chapters 4, 5, and 6 from the text, Meaningful Work)
  • Module 4: Making Ethical Decisions (Chapters 8, 9 and 11 from the text, Meaningful Work) 
  • Module 5: Employee Issues (variety of articles and videos, accessible online)
  • Module 6: Developing an Ethics Compass for Employees and the Organization (Chapters 12 and 13 from the text, Meaningful Work) 
Specific Course Requirements:

There are no specific course pre-requisites. Enrollment in the course is limited to students enrolled in the Master of Professional Studies degree program. Other students seeking to enroll in the course must have departmental permission. Students should be skilled in using a web browser to connect the websites (such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla) and skilled in sending and receiving e-mails with attachments.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

No proctor is needed for this course.

Review quizzes (found under the Evaluation/Assessments navigation menu) correlate with each module (6 total) and may be taken up to 5 times until the end of the module (which also happens to be the last available date for taking the quiz). These will be multiple choice and/or true/false questions based on your assigned readings and/or videos for that module. The highest score will be recorded.  

Grading Procedures:

For Discussion posts there is a Discussion Rubric which details all expectations and requirements for grades. For the academic paper assignments for each module (referred to as Assignment), there is a correlating Assignment Rubric providing the necessary grading expectations. Grades will be posted as soon as possible, but no longer than 2 weeks from the close of the assignment. Individual feedback is generally provided to suggest ways to improve upon the quality of work. 


Grading Scale:

Point Range Assigned Grade

  • 900 -1000 Points A
  • 800 - 899 Points B
  • 700 - 799 Points C
  • 600 - 699 Points D
  • under 600 Points F 
Assignments and Projects:

Each module includes a Content section as well as an Assessment section. Graded assignments for the module may be found in the Assessment section of the Module. For the first 5 modules, there will be 5 required graded assignments (and one extra credit assignment). There will be a required discussion forum; a case study discussion, an assignment paper; a review quiz; and a reflective journal entry. The extra credit discussion forum will be marked as Extra Credit in the title. Extra Credit only applies IF you have completed all the module requirements. The topic for the Assignment paper for each module can be found in the Assignment section. All assignment papers and reflective journal entries need to be submitted to the corresponding Dropbox on or before the due date of the module. Reflective journal entries should address the questions posed, and reflect the material covered in that module. Module 6 has all the required assignments except a case study discussion.

There are a total of 5 case studies. The 6th module does not have a case study. For Modules 1, 2 and 3, the case studies are done on an individual basis, and posted on the general discussion board which all class members can view. You will not be able to view your classmate's posts until you make your original post. Both Modules 4 and 5 are group case studies. A private group discussion board will be created. A summary of the group comments will be shared on a discussion board for your classmates to view. After completion of group assignments, all group members will rank their respective group members and comment on active participation. The instructor will assign group members around midterm (during Module 3).

Description Points 
1 Introductory Discussion, @ 20 pointsSubtotal Points 20 
1 Email providing Contact Information, @ 10 pointsSubtotal Points 10 
6 Review Quizzes, @ 40 points eachSubtotal Points 240
6 Papers, @ 40 points eachSubtotal Points 240
6 Required Discussions (1 per Module), @ 20 points eachSubtotal Points 120
6 Reflective Journals, @ 15 points eachSubtotal Points 90 
Case Studies (3 individual @ 40 each; 2 group @ 45 each)Subtotal Points 210
Final Paper, @ 70 pointsSubtotal Points 70 
6 Extra Credit Discussions (Modules 1-6), @ 20 points each  
Total Points Total Course Points 1000


Class Participation:

Class participation is a priority. Ethics cannot be learned in isolation. For online students, our primary form of class participation will be through the discussion forums. You are expected to actively participate in the discussion forums within each module. Posts need to be made periodically throughout the module time block. The expectations for quality work and grading can be found in the Discussion Rubric. The more actively you prepare and participate, the more you will gain from the course. Extra Credit cannot be earned unless all the module requirements have been met.

Late Policy:

Late work is not accepted. However, there are five (5) opportunities to earn extra credit throughout the semester in the discussion forums. Extra Credit may only be earned within a module if all the required assignments for that module have been completed. You may not submit an Extra Credit discussion assignment in lieu of a required discussion topic or paper assignment. Each discussion forum will be closed when the module closes. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017