Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The integration of humanities, social sciences, and writing into the engineering disciplines has been shown to improve critical thinking and creativity in students. Undergraduate Engineering Economy courses are well-positioned to facilitate such integration because of their cross-disciplinary nature. One humanities topic that fits particularly well within Engineering Economy courses is ethics, which in many ways is already woven into the content through existing textbooks. Nevertheless, the variety of methods used to deliver Engineering Economy courses (e.g., traditional classroom, large lecture hall, online, hybrid) provides ample opportunities to improve and refine how the topic of ethics is addressed. This paper presents an overview of the implementation of an ethics-based learning module in an undergraduate Engineering Economy course. The module was part of a pilot effort for what is anticipated to be a broader implementation spanning several instructors, locations, and delivery methods. The centerpiece of the learning module is a writing assignment in which students analyze a historical case in which financial considerations appear to have played a role in the violation of ethical codes or norms. In this paper, we outline specific ethics concepts that were brought up during classroom discussions regarding this writing assignment and provide a qualitative assessment of how well students applied ethical considerations in their analyses of the various case studies. The module also includes a survey intended to explore the attitudes of students related to professional ethics, their perception of ethics education in their curriculum, and how they view the relationship of engineering practice and financial decisions. Based on our assessment of this first implementation, we discuss how the module might best be modified to accommodate other delivery formats and present our views on the most appropriate timing of the module in relation to the course calendar. We also explain our views on how ethics should be approached within the context of Engineering Economy courses and what factors might influence the decision to adopt either a micro-insertion or macro-insertion instructional approach. Finally, we outline an approach for future research aimed at assessing the current state of ethics instruction in Engineering Economy courses for the purpose of clarifying which instructional technologies, techniques, and strategies might be most effective.
Burns, J., & White, B. E., & Houshyar, A. (2018, June), Integrating Ethics in Undergraduate Engineering Economy Courses: An Implementation Case Study and Future Directions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30683
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