Asee peer logo

Implementing A New Approach To Teaching The Ethics Of Emerging Technology

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Best Zone Paper Competition

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.837.1 - 12.837.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Doug Tougaw Valparaiso University

author page

Michael McCuddy Valparaiso University

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Douglas Tougaw1 and Michael K. McCuddy2 1 Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN; Email: 2 Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN; Email:


Emerging technology holds great promise for solving many of the problems facing the modern world and for improving the lives of every person in that world. However, it also holds great peril for creating new problems and for destroying the world as we know it. Engineers are in a unique position to understand the technical issues surrounding the emerging technology they are helping to create, and it is imperative that we, as engineering educators, help them to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to help society make wise choices concerning the development and application of emerging technologies. We must help them to recognize the larger societal context of their work in order to ensure that they will use their engineering skills to improve the world, rather than to destroy it (Davis, 1999; Gorman and Mehalik, 1997; Kline, 2001; Nichols, 1999; Soudek, 1999; Stephan, 1999).

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has gone so far as to say that, “to survive in the work world of the 21st century and to carry out responsibly their roles as agents of technological change, new engineering graduates need substantial training in recognizing and solving ethical problems”( All of these emerging issues of engineering ethics have prompted the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to specifically identify “an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility” and “the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context” as two of only eleven specifically enumerated criteria that all engineering graduates must possess (Herkert, 1999; Pfatteicher, 1999).

In previous work, the authors have presented a proposed teaching method by which students’ common childhood experiences can be used as an important tool in promoting understanding of the complex issues associated with the ethics of emerging technology (McCuddy and Tougaw, 2005a; McCuddy and Tougaw, 2005b; Tougaw and McCuddy, 2005). In this paper, we will describe the use of this teaching method in demonstrating how three different aspects of human development can effectively illustrate a variety of issues associated with emerging technologies.


Many different models and approaches have been used to teach engineering students about the ethics of emerging technology. Entire textbooks have been dedicated to the specific task of teaching the topic of “engineering ethics,” which includes not only the issues surrounding emerging technology, but also issues of professionalism and safety (Johnson, 1991; Martin and Schinzinger, 1996; Petroski, 1982; Taylor, 1975; Gunn and Vesilund, 2002, among many others). In addition to

Tougaw, D., & McCuddy, M. (2007, June), Implementing A New Approach To Teaching The Ethics Of Emerging Technology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3082

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015