July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
While formal coursework remains one of the most common strategies for developing ethics knowledge and competence among engineering students, ethical situations also surface in many other settings. In our own research on engineering student perceptions of ethics and social responsibility, we found that many engineering interns and co-ops reported encountering ethical issues or dilemmas in the workplace. To further illuminate such encounters, this paper aims to: 1) identify and describe real-world ethical issues encountered by engineering students in workplace settings, and 2) investigate what students learned from these experiences. We address these objectives by reporting select results from an ongoing qualitative analysis of 33 interviews with undergraduate students in their fourth year of college. We more specifically present a series of illustrative cases drawn from four of the interviews, selected because the participants described specific work situations in considerable detail and the cases represent a wide variety of ethical concerns. The purpose for sharing these cases is threefold. First, we note some specific lessons that our subjects learned (or failed to learn) through the selected cases. Second, we argue that the workplace is a particularly rich setting for learning about professional ethics. Third, we make recommendations for better scaffolding and supporting student learning in workplace settings. We expect this paper will be of particular interest to engineering ethics scholars studying where and how students learn about ethics, instructors looking for ways to enhance and extend ethics learning, and students preparing for internship, co-op, and/or full-time job roles.
Kim, D., & Howland, S. J., & Jesiek, B. K. (2021, July), Encountering Engineering Ethics in the Workplace: Stories from the Trenches Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37030
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