New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Given ABET’s criteria for ethics education and the professional responsibility of engineers to uphold reasonable standards of ethics, some form of ethics education in the engineering curriculum has become standard in engineering schools. While a microethics case study approach is common in the classroom, some researchers have called for greater emphasis on a macroethics approach, which emphasizes broader ethical questions about technology in society rather than questions about individual professional responsibility. This paper presents a case study, written by the author, used to discuss a macroethics issue related to the 2015 Volkswagen diesel scandal. The case study uses the Volkswagen case to highlight the possible ethical dilemma between the need for greater public and researcher access to vehicle software code versus the automobile manufacturers’ desire to keep the code proprietary. The paper applies the utilitarian, justice, virtue, and rights frameworks to the case, and shows how students can use the frameworks to analyze a range of ethical dilemmas and to better understand the broad ethical implications of open-source software, including questions about software vulnerability disclosures, intellectual property, and public safety. The paper presents an excerpt from a student paper demonstrating the learning outcomes of the case study exercise. The full text of the case study is included as an appendix.
Warford, E. L. (2016, June), Ethics in the Classroom: The Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26741
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