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A Simulation for Exploring Ethical Situations that Arise from Conflicting Product Goals

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

New Media for Ethics Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Allen R. White Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Allen White is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Chemistry at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Engineering ethics is a difficult topic for educators as the most difficult ethical situations that our students will likely face as future engineers will be nuanced and unclear. A simulation of an engineering team resolving a potential safety problem, the 1960 Corvair suspension design, has been created in an effort to create a realistic situation where the ethical difficulties arise from the conflicting demands of engineering teams. A realistic engineering team is created with conflicting goals assigned to students and simulated using commercial role-playing game (RPG) mechanics to recreate realistic interpersonal and engineering skills to create a rich and nuanced ethical environment. The RPG mechanics also allow the instructor to imbalance the simulation towards a desired outcome. The team roles and RPG mechanics will be presented along with options for the instructor to influence the simulation outcome. A class reflective exercise that allows students to process the interactions and to discuss the consequences of the outcomes for real-life engineers and engineering teams will also be presented.

White, A. R. (2020, June), A Simulation for Exploring Ethical Situations that Arise from Conflicting Product Goals Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34052

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