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Board 74: Using Machine Tools to Analyze Changes in Students’ Ethical Thinking

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division - WIP Poster Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Roman Taraban Texas Tech University

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Roman Taraban is Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. His interests are in how undergraduate students learn, and especially, in critical thinking and how students draw meaningful connections in traditional college content materials.

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William M. Marcy P.E. Texas Tech University

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Professor and Director of the Murdough Center for Engineering Professionalism and The National Institute for Engineering Ethics
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

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Lakshmojee Koduru

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I am a Data Scientist at Schneider National where I build predictive models for the Transportation and Logistics.

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John Richard Schumacher Texas Tech University

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I am a PhD in Cognitive Psychology at Texas Tech University. My primary research interests lie in studying memory as it applies to an academic setting, and moral decision making. I also have a strong interest in studying different statistical analytical techniques to appropriately and efficiently model data.

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Micah Iserman Texas Tech University

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Using Machine Tools to Analyze Changes in Students’ Ethical Thinking

Engineering ethics education entails the development of the ability to recognize the social, cultural, environmental, and global implications of engineering practice. Instructional activities often involve discourse among students and verbal and written responses to ethical issues and dilemmas. The present research applies two machine methods to extract the dominant concepts in engineering undergraduates’ essays that were written at the beginning and end of an engineering ethics course. The two methods were Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) and naïve Bayesian analysis. Both methods showed little overall change in the conceptual basis of beginning versus end of semester essays. Closer analyses of the Bayesian results suggested there were observable individual differences in the essays. Further analysis of these differences may aid in better understanding which students changed their ethical thinking from the beginning to the end of the course. In the Discussion we suggest several ways in which success with these machine methods could aid instruction.

Taraban, R., & Marcy, W. M., & Koduru, L., & Schumacher, J. R., & Iserman, M. (2019, June), Board 74: Using Machine Tools to Analyze Changes in Students’ Ethical Thinking Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32420

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