Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Engineering educators have used different strategies to incorporate ethics instruction into engineering curricula, often in response to the ABET requirements on students’ understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. The mainstream pedagogical approaches predominantly are case studies supplemented with moral theory and professional codes of ethics. Despite a greater emphasis on engineering culture, real-world practices, macroethics and the need for collective responses, and social justice in engineering ethics literature, it is still not surprising to see a continual reliance on presupposed “correct” responses for a given case; overemphasis on heroic actions and unusual mistakes without contextual considerations; and overlooking of the importance of society and peer culture in the teaching of ethics. In this paper, we argue that addressing imaginal capacity as a core component in ethics curriculum helps educators to move beyond isolated and product-oriented pictures of engineering ethics instruction and illustrate ways to bridge complexities embedded in how we think and how we relate to one another in society. The process of realization of different, and perhaps opposing, aims in everyday decision making and moving towards realization of another person’s existence and experiences should be a canon of the quality of ethics instruction. How can we then develop a dialogue to help engineers in dealing with ethical challenges? Ethics instruction that raises awareness of an individual’s process of making ethical decisions, presents ethics as a continuum from student experiences to professional ones, and humanizes conflicting perspectives is argued to effectively address higher level ethical decision processes. Student responses to macroethics and social justice decisions beyond the classroom can only be affected if ethics instruction goes beyond raising awareness of issues and instead influences student decision processes. We build on conceptual notions of the moral insight, illustrated by idealist and pragmatist scholar Josiah Royce, and the I-Thou and I-It attitudes, described by philosopher Martin Buber; and move to the resources in liberation theory and praxis and build on the notions used by Royce and Buber in connection with broader context. Then, we present preliminary ideas for converting theoretical perspectives into classroom praxis. Examples of modifications to an ethics curriculum that is currently in use for the senior-level engineering class, Design of Steel Structures, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States are presented to initiate discussion. This curriculum has implemented a series of assignments that probe ethics development throughout the semester, complementing traditional ethics instruction in a companion course.
Jalali, Y., & Civjan, S. A. (2020, June), Many Facets of Imagination: What Really Matters in Engineering Ethics Instruction? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34951
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: © 2020 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