Ethics Slam             Ethics Bowl             

Virtual Bowl: What Coaches and Students Must Know-Updated 1/15/21

The Zoom Code: Expectations for All Match Participants on Bowl Days

1. Basic Gear/Location:
a. Desktop computer or laptop with microphone, webcam, and speakers (headsets preferred). Tablets can be used, but laptops preferred.
b. Reliable high-speed internet connection.
c. While matches are on, other wifi users at your location and not involved in the competition, should limit use of other streaming services, e.g., Netflix, YouTube, and downloading of large files or updates, e.g., movies, games.
d. Quiet space free from distractions during matches.  
e. Secondary form of communication (messaging/chat) is permitted and can be used by students ONLY when you are in match BREAKOUT ROOMS OR DURING THE JUDGE QUESTION TIME to confer and coordinate responses to judge questions. Coaches can use these tools ONLY before and after matches to communicate with teams. All participants need to read and follow The Virtual Ethics Bowl Honor Code.

2. Expectations:
a. Please close any unnecessary windows in your browser so there are no extra sounds/notifications.
b. Make sure you test the audio and video before each match.
c. Students should be prepared to enter a match with your first and last name, school and team number appearing at the bottom of the screen. Example: bell hooks/Hopkinsville/Team 1.
d. Coaches should be prepared to enter a match with your first and last name, school and role appearing at the bottom of the screen. Example: Nagarjuna/Nalanda University/Coach.
e. Be able to use the "mute" functions of Zoom. Students should be on mute all of the time unless you are speaking (Coaches have a listening role only during matches). In addition, all students, judges, producers and moderators should have your video on. Coaches should have your video off. 
f. Before Bowl match days, please be familiar with common difficulties in using Zoom. Some troubleshooting tips:
g. While matches are taking place, they will be recorded. This allows a play-back option for match judges if there is no judge quorum, which means 3 judges did not hear the full match. The Virtual Bowl, however, is a private event and will not be streamed, circulated or published online.

While the in-person Bowl welcomes parents and community members to watch, listen and root for young people and their teams, Zoom is not audience-friendly in the way that we would like spectators to experience the event. Further, gathering release forms from over 160 individuals, after consideration, would have been a full-time job.

Even so, there are ways to remember the 2021 Bowl, and recognize the community spirit and philosophy and ethics "fandom" that it celebrates. Before and after the Bowl---students, parents, coaches, judges and A2Ethics organizers are welcome to publicize, and share and promote their Bowl participation and experiences through their own communication tools and social media.   

The Virtual Ethics Bowl Honor Code: Expectations for Students and Faculty Coaches On Bowl Days
The Virtual Ethics Bowl requires several ethical habits, expectations and efforts by students and coaches—and everyone else involved--to give all teams and students a fair chance and opportunity to be and do their best during the competition. We are confident all students and coaches will exemplify ethical behavior and be true to these expectations:    

1. No use of outside notes. One exception: Students should have access to or a copy of all 8 case studies (without any notes) to refer to during matches.
2. No use of the internet or any other education/knowledge resource for information-gathering or fact-checking during matches. 
3. No use of other physical resources aside from blank paper and pen/pencil.
4. No communication with outside individuals/groups not admitted in matches or involved in the competition. 

Please remember your obligations to your community, to your team, to other teams, and to everyone affiliated with Ethics Bowl.   

Attention Faculty Coaches: Why Monday, February 1, 2021  is a SAVE and TATTOO THIS DATE

1. On February 1, 2021, faculty coaches will deliver your team rosters for the Ending Rounds to A2Ethics. If your school has 2 teams, you will have 2 lists. No school with 2 teams, however, is permitted to mix their teams. You are allowed 3 to 5 students at the Zoom table with 1 alternate student in a match. You may list more than 6 students on your team roster (s); if your team (s) moves on to the semifinal and final, students listed on your roster for a given team, are eligible to participate. Whatever your student configurations, you must provide A2Ethics a list of students as well as the 2 coaches authorized to be on the Zoom call for the Ending Rounds. These lists must be carefully and clearly formatted. For students: First and Last Name/School/Team Number (if there are 2 teams from your school). For student alternates: First and Last Name/School/Team Number/Alternate. For coaches: First and Last Name/Coach. Once these rosters are in by February 1st, there will be no changes accepted. If roster students or coaches are not available for the Round for which they are listed, no substitutions will be permitted.

2. By February 1st, please have a discussion with your student teams and agree to follow the Virtual Ethics Bowl Honor Code. At the same time, make sure your students know what day and when their matches are going to take place.

3. To reiterate, by February 1st, you should include a reminder to all students that they must have ready their first and last name/school/team number (and alternate status if applicable) to ensure they can enter their respective matches. The procedure is as follows: the Bowl producer for the match will begin to admit roster qualified students from the Zoom waiting room 10 minutes before their match starts, when it will be determined by the producer whether students must rename themselves in order to participate in the match. Equally important information later in the match: if students get cut off and reconnect during a match, they need to rename themselves after they get back on.      

Essential, Imperative and Vital Coach Responsibilities: Providing The Case Studies and The Information on Zoom Access to A Match

1. You will need to make sure that all participating students have ALL 8 case studies in front of them on their computer screens or in a printed copy at the beginning of and during their match. The 2021 Bowl case studies are located here:
(You may want to create a separate case study document without the author bios and the study questions). The moderator will not read the selected case studies as is the usual practice. Instead, the moderator will identify the case # and the title of the case that teams will present. The moderator will read and repeat the match case question and the producer will type it in the Zoom chat section at the beginning of the match. Students should make sure they copy the question, as it will disappear when they go into the first breakout room. Please remember that entering the Case Question for a match is the ONLY purpose for the Zoom chat function in the Virtual Bowl, unless students choose to use it in their breakout rooms. The chat function should not be used during the public segments of the match. Ever.  

2. On the Ending Round days, the producer will send to the faculty coach the link to access the Zoom call. This access will be provided to the faculty coach ONLY. Students and the philosopher coach will not receive this information. It is the sole responsibility of the faculty coach to give the Zoom link to students and the philosopher coach. Please inform your students that the producer will begin to admit roster qualified students (and you and the philosopher coach) from the waiting room 10 minutes before each match. If the producer determines the students and you need to rename to fit the restrictions for actually participating in each match, they will assist in this process.

3. When the 3 match judges are accounted for by the producer and moderator, matches will start at the publicized EST time in the schedule. Late participants can get on the call when they are able, but the moderator will not wait for them to start the match.    

The Match Begins: Coaches Become Listeners Only

The faculty and philosopher coaches have the best listening "seats" in the Zoom room. You get to watch your students excel. In our opinion, this is coaching as it should be. And it is what happens with the in-person Bowl. No play-by-play instructions or signals from the "wings," or more likely the bench, during the match. With one big difference from the in-person Bowl. You do not control when the alternate is "activated" to speak at the Zoom table (If your team has an alternate or 6th student). Your students at the Zoom table will make this decision, according to the Bowl alternate student guidelines. You have prepared your students well. Now they make their own decisions, based on what they have learned from you and each other. During a match:  

1. You are a listener or observer. You will not be able to unmute yourself at any time, participate or communicate with any student in the competition while the match is going on. Your video will not be on. The chat function on Zoom will not be used by anyone during any part of the match. Two exceptions. First, when the producer types in the match case question at the beginning. Second, in the breakout rooms in the event students choose to communicate with each other in this way.  
2. To be sure, if you are cut off, you can continue to try to get back on the Zoom call throughout the match.  
3. Of course, BEFORE and AFTER your students' matches, you may talk via a secondary communication tool, e.g., messaging app, with your students. You are their best motivators, cheerleaders, counsellors and advice-givers.   

The Alternate Student Role and How It Plays in the VBowl  

The in-person Bowl permits two alternates, though there are only 5 students seated at the table and no substitutions can be made during a match. The VBowl includes only one alternate student, who may be allowed to substitute or replace a seated student. 

The Alternate Student Role and The Circumstances When They are Seated at the Zoom Table 

1. The alternate student is a silent team member. They do not TALK during the public sections of the match, such as the presentation, commentary, response, and judge questions---UNLESS and UNTIL they are "activated" by a designated member of their team. During the private breakout rooms for their team, the alternate student can TALK and participate in the discussions. 

2. There are 2 circumstances during the match when the alternate student becomes "activated," AND what happens afterward when one or even both of these circumstances occur. Even as these circumstances are unfolding, the match will continue. There will be no time stoppages during the match.  

a. A technical problem with an activated student

When a student already authorized and activated at the Zoom table has a technical glitch, audio problem, a cut off from the Zoom call and/or trouble reconnecting or getting back on the call, the team can decide to "deactivate" the disconnected student and to authorize the alternate to be seated and replace them at the Zoom table. This decision is made by the activated students. One student is selected prior to the match to announce this replacement decision publicly to the moderator. The moderator also announces this replacement decision to all participants. As an activated team member, the former alternate is now allowed to fully participate, and to take the talking place of the deactivated student throughout the rest of the public sections of the match. If the deactivated student is actually able to resolve the technical issue and come back on during the match, they are NOT allowed to take a talking role again. They can, however, continue to participate in the private breakout rooms with their team. Once the alternate student is seated at the table and is allowed to fully participate, they should rename themselves and delete alternate from their identifying information on their screen. Likewise, if the deactivated student is able to come back on the call, they need to rename themselves and include the word INACTIVE after their school/team number on their screen.       
 b. Illness or emergency

When a student already authorized and activated at the Zoom table informs their team they must leave the Zoom table because of illness or emergency, the alternate will be activated and replace them at the Zoom table. In this instance, the team again makes a decision to activate the alternate. The student designated to relay this decision to the moderator does so. And the moderator announces this decision to all participants. As an activated team member, the former alternate is now allowed to fully participate, and to take the talking place of the deactivated student throughout the rest of the public sections (as well as the breakout sessions) of the match. If the deactivated student is actually able to recover or handle the emergency before the match ends, they are NOT allowed to take a talking role again. They can, however, continue to participate in the private breakout rooms with their team. Once the alternate student is seated at the table and is allowed to fully participate, they should rename themselves and delete alternate from their identifying information on their screen. Likewise, if the deactivated student is able to come back on the call, they need to rename themselves and include the word INACTIVE after their school/team number on their screen.    

There is, of course, the circumstance in a match when more than one student has a technical glitch or becomes ill or has to leave because of an emergency. Even so, the  one alternate is permitted to replace one "deactivated" student. If more than one team member is cut off or has an emergency, the team simply has to carry on with the remaining numbers.  

The Virtual Bowl: A Chance to Create New Traditions  

To say this academic year is at once anomalous, unparalleled, unsettled, and a first in our lifetimes, is too obvious. So, we have said it.

We truly hope that everyone affiliated with the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl has not lost family and friends to COVID.

We wish that we could all be together to celebrate philosophy and ethics for the Michigan Bowl’s 8th season. And to celebrate each student's talents and as members of a special community committed to learning about public ethics in a democracy.

Over the years, we have established several fun traditions unique to the Michigan Bowl: an opening ceremony and introduction of the teams; prizes for the best team name; team photos; and the swag of the season. The winner of our annual Michigan Bowl is the state champion and holder of The Hemlock Cup. The Michigan Ethics Bowl champions are treasured ambassadors, representing Michigan in the annual National Bowl in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The 2021 National Bowl is on schedule and online. It will take place on April 10-11, 2021.

We will all be cheering on the 2021 Michigan Ethics Bowl champions!

Even if most of our traditions are on hold, we have put in place a Plan B for this year:

1. Instead of making up a creative team name that is philosophical or a play on philosopher names, we have invited each team to decide on a special theme song that represents their team. The main requirement: the song has an ethical twist, presents an ethics idea or principle, or includes a topic with ethical implications. A best theme song prize, including $150 to the winning team, was announced at the end of the Opening Rounds. The winners of the first-ever "Michigan Ethics Bowl Best Theme Song" contest: the Ypsilanti Youth team for their original song: Stuck in the Crib. For a playlist of all team songs:

2. Each student in the 2020-21 Michigan High School Ethics Bowl received a certificate affirming their participation in the first ever--Virtual One. We hope the 2020-21 Bowl…is the only one.

We have learned a lot from each other this anomalous, unparalleled, unsettled, and a first in our lifetimes year. And together,we have kept the legacy alive.    

Philosophy For All. Philosophy Forever.