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Scenarios to help teach law and ethics remotely


Teachers could do this as one scenario per day unit or sprinkle them throughout many weeks while addressing other areas as well. Topics covered include both legal and ethical concerns such as copyright, photo ethics, basic reporting, takedown requests, etc.


  • Students will make a legal or ethical choice based on current knowledge.
  • Students will then evaluate that decision based on resources provided
  • Students will alter or keep the original decision after examining resources. They will also provide reasoning for the final choice.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1.aIntroduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1.bDevelop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2.aIntroduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


 Varies dependent on number of scenarios used.

Materials / resources

SPJ Code of Ethics


Rubric for scenarios 

Each scenario has a link to an existing SPRC resource, which has links to even more resources. 

If used with student media class, teacher should link to the current staff handbook. Teacher could also link to SPRC’s model handbook for students.

Lesson step-by-step

Activity 1 — Teacher upload, student discussion.

Upload the desired scenario in the discussion area of your course. Students should read and respond to the scenario. 

Activity 2 — Teacher post, student re-evaluation      

Teacher should upload the SPRC Quick Tip that addresses the scenario. Ask students to read and then re-evaluate their response. They should provide reasoning for either keeping the decision or adjusting their response. 


These scenarios are specifically for your course. You should opt for concepts students have struggled with in the past or that you or the students find interesting.

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