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Board 73: Implicit Attitudes in Engineering: Coding, Marketing and Bias

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division - WIP Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Joseph Martel-Foley Wentworth Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Joe Martel-Foley earned his Bachelors in mechanical engineering from Union College, his Masters and PhD in Engineering Science from Harvard University. He held a postdoctoral appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital BioMEMS Resource Center where he still holds an appointment as a visiting scientist. His research interests range from pedagogical research to microfluidics and systems engineering. Current research projects include, photolithography optimization, microfluidics for measuring cell motility, wearable electronics, laboratory automation of fly work in genetics research and 3d printing in mechanics education.

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Some of the most difficult to teach and measure student learning outcomes are those associated with societal awareness and impact. Many engineering classes have little time to add current events as they are already oversaturated with essential material leaving the discussion of current events that impact our everyday lives and are issues prevalent in the media for general education courses. The #MeToo movement, an essential conversation on the pervasiveness of such behavior in gender biased engineering disciplines takes more than a passing comment or suggestion for students to attend some on-campus event, it involves introspection and sometimes time to adjust one’s world view.

This Work-In-Progress details the development of a module in an introductory coding course that couples social psychology with fundamental code based learning outcomes. This is accomplished through the introduction of implicit attitude tests (IATs) which allow for the measurement of subconscious reaction time differences to relational statements. The lesson plan involves assisting students setting up the framework of the test, posing a marketing question and then using the Project Implicit [1] platform to encourage students to explore their own implicit biases.


Martel-Foley, J. (2019, June), Board 73: Implicit Attitudes in Engineering: Coding, Marketing and Bias Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32417

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