July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
A graduate level engineering ethics course developed by the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been offered in the last eight years at a large land-grant university. The course aims to address relationships between engineering, science, and society and incorporates listening exercises, personal reflections, individual and group projects, and case studies within four major units of inquiry: Learning to Listen, Responsible Conduct of Research, Responsible Conduct of Practice, and Witnessing Wrongdoing and the Obligation to Prevent Harm. We started a project centered around moral imagination in 2019 to enhance the previous curriculum. The major changes included two learning modules, each for two and half hours, developed explicitly to provoke and encourage imagination, which is one of the major goals of ethics instruction. The course provides a context for rather unconventional intervention in the form of these modules, and there is a hope that students will benefit from explicit attention to the concept of imagination by incorporating some philosophical and fiction pieces. Imagination discussed as an essential character of thinking and understanding urges us to pay attention to otherwise obscured patterns of human suffering. The modules make a connection and expand the existing discussion on bias, institutional culture, and power relations. The first module is in connection with everyday decision-making, how we think, and the role of bias. Two readings were considered for the first module: "Moral Insight" by Josiah Royce and an excerpt from I and Thou by Martin Buber. The second module highlights institutional culture and systematic oppression. The intent in this module is to make a shift from negative ethic-- passive role/do not harm-- to a more positive ethic-- active role/add good-- and emphasize the importance of power relations and collective responsibility. Two readings were chosen for the second module: "The Ones Who Walk Away" from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin and "From Cruelty to Goodness" by Philip Hallie.
In this paper, we first discuss the concept of imagination informed by the literature. Then, we present an overview of the course, including a narrative from the perspective of a student, and review the modules and pedagogical methods. Finally, we report on the data collected from students' pre- and post-surveys in 2019 and 2020.
Jalali, Y., & Matheis, C., & Edwards, M. (2021, July), A Graduate-level Engineering Ethics Course: An Initial Attempt to Provoke Moral Imagination Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36583
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