June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.547.1 - 23.547.9
Ethics in Engineering Education Using Virtual WorldsEthical decision making is key to the development of future engineers in our global and diversesociety. The use of virtual worlds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)education is an innovative use of technology in the science classroom. This paper will describehow we developed, deployed, and assessed a novel approach to engineering ethics education thatuses virtual worlds to teach ethics in STEM classes.This project, SciEthics Interactive, is a 3-D virtual world where students take on the role ofcompany researcher, collect data, and produce engineering reports. They are also asked topractice their ethical decision-making skills in a safe environment. The goal of the project is toincrease the ethical engagement of students and faculty in STEM by introducing them to virtualworlds, simulate a real-life situation that engineers face in industry, and measure studentresponses to various ethical dilemmas that they are faced with in their simulated role. At ouruniversity we deployed the SciEthics activity in two classes where one class was offered on-line,and the second course was offered on-campus. In the SciEthics virtual world, students could takeone of three roles where the company was researching genetic engineering of salmon. Studentswere asked to take a Defining Issues Test (DIT) before and after their role-playing activity in thevirtual world to see if their ethical responses, as quantified by the DIT, changed as a result oftheir experiences in the virtual world. Additionally we assessed the usefulness of the activityusing student surveys at the end of the course. Overall, most students gave favorable feedback onthe SciEthics activity in this engineering management course. Interesting student feedback wasreceived from the non-traditional students who are typically over age 30 and from militaryveterans. This feedback will be used to further refine and improve the SciEthics virtual worldand expand its use in teaching ethics as part of a STEM curriculum that includes non-traditionalstudents in on-line and on-site classes.
Reeves, J., & Nadolny, L. (2013, June), Ethics in Engineering Education Using Virtual Worlds Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19561
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