June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.247.1 - 26.247.17
Assessing the Ethical Development of Students in an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Course using a Standardized InstrumentABET requires “an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility” but insuringstudents obtain these outcomes is program specific. Many programs struggle with how to includeethics in a robust technical curriculum. Consequently, there are numerous pedagogicalapproaches for teaching ethics including modules, individual courses, integration throughout thecurriculum, or as part of a capstone experience. Institutions also struggle when they attempt toevaluate the impact of these various approaches. Motivated by this diversity of pedagogicaltechniques and strategies for assessing their impact, we developed the Survey of EngineeringEthical Development – Practical Assessment (SEED-PA), a practical instrument for assessingindividual ethics initiatives at the, course, co-curricular, or single intervention level.This paper describes the application of a National Science Foundation funded researchinstrument across four distinct offerings of a senior level stand-alone civil engineering course inethics. The Survey of Engineering Ethical Development – Practical Assessment (SEED-PA) isan instrument designed to assess individual ethics initiatives at the, course, co-curricular, orsingle intervention level. Overall, our SEED-PA project is guided by four goals: Goal 1. Create a practical instrument for assessing individual ethics initiatives (SEED-PA) Goal 2. Use the SEED-PA to conduct four separate studies addressing important research questions and demonstrating the utility of the instrument Goal 3. Develop the SEED-PA User’s Guide to assist in research design, administration, data analysis, and interpretation of results Goal 4. Broadly disseminate the SEED-PA instrument and the SEED-PA User’s GuideTo date, the researchers have created the SEED-PA (Goal 1) and piloted tested the instrument atmultiple institutions (Goal 2). This paper describes the findings from one of the four pilot testswhich was the implementation of the survey across four semester offerings of a senior levelethics course in civil engineering. The course reinforces ethical behavior and discusses a widerange of contemporary issues using a variety of pedagogical techniques including synchronousonline learning. The course demonstrated an improvement in a student’s ethical development andknowledge of ethics based on the SEED-PA and was effective at meeting course objectives.
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