June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.864.1 - 23.864.18
Lessons Learned from Teaching with an Ethics Toolkit Abstract We have previously presented plans to implement alternative methods to teach ethics toengineering students. In this paper, we illustrate what we have learned in the process of implementingour new curriculum. The premise of our approach is that engineering education provides students witha wide variety of tools and skills: mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer programming, anddiscipline specific knowledge. All of these tools are designed to be multipurpose and adaptable towhatever problem the student will face in practice. However, one area in which our students tend to beunderprepared and tend to be lacking in analogous “tools” to solve problems is in ethics. Ethics istypically taught by showing students case studies that exemplify unethical behavior. Although highlyuseful, case studies tend to show students what not to do, rather that demonstrating the proper courseof action to take. This paper discusses an approach to ethics education that complements the casestudy approach to teaching ethics. The approach to ethics education that we advocate stresses the psychological variables thatinfluence people with good intentions to act unethically. Standard ethics classes neglect the topic ofmoral psychology. Specifically, these classes do not teach students why people act unethically, and theydo not provide students with strategies to increase the likelihood that they will act in accord with theirown ethical commitments and the ethical codes of their professions. We have designed a class (ablended learning approach which can stand alone as a seminar or be added to the curriculum tosupplement traditional research ethics classes) that uses video clips containing re-enactments ofpublished empirical studies that demonstrate why people act unethically. After a discussion of eachvideo, each individual student is guided through a two-part exercise. The first part, developing aPersonal Inventory Report, helps the student engage in self-reflection in order to determine what sortsof situations the student might find ethically challenging. In the second part of the exercise, the studentdevelops a personal plan (Adaptive-Strategies Report) addressing what strategies they might use inorder to increase the likelihood that they will act ethically in challenging situations (that is, the situationsarrived at while developing the Personal Inventory Report). The Adaptive Strategies Report helps thestudent: 1) recognize ethically challenging situations; 2) engaging in critical analysis or reflection aboutthe ethically challenging situation; and 3) act ethically in ethically challenging situations (that is, applythe strategies developed for the Adaptive-Strategies Report). The products of this exercise – PersonalInventory Report and Adaptive-Strategies Report – are provided to each student, and they can be usedthroughout the student’s career, especially when in a new professional situation.
High, M. S., & Gelfand, S. D., & Harrist, R. S., & Kennison, S. M. (2013, June), Lessons Learned from Teaching with an Ethics Toolkit Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19878
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