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Mapping Concepts Engineering Students in China Use to Think about Ethics

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Research on Engineering Ethics Education and Practice

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Rockwell Franklin Clancy III University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute

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Rockwell F. Clancy is an Associate Teaching Professor in engineering ethics and philosophy at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute and Research Fellow in the Institute of Social Cognition and Decision-making, both in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research and teaching interests include engineering ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of technology, Chinese philosophy, and political philosophy. Rockwell completed his PhD at Purdue University, West Lafayette, MA at the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, and BA at Fordham University, New York.

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Charlemagne Manuel University of Michigan Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute


Richard James Clancy University of Colorado Boulder Orcid 16x16

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Richard Clancy is a PhD student of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His interests include optimization, numerical analysis, and the use of mathematics to better understand problems in the social sciences. Prior to graduate school, Mr. Clancy worked in the financial sector analyzing and trading natural gas future and options.

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To better understand how engineering students think about ethics across cultures, and improve education in engineering ethics on this basis, a website was developed to host educational contents and conduct research. The site can facilitate large-scale, qualitative research using methods employed by the computational social sciences and digital humanities. To demonstrate its potential value, this paper describes a preliminary study using network analysis and semantic maps to explore the responses of engineering students (N=70) in China to two course-related prompts: give an example of a behavior you consider unethical; explain what makes this behavior unethical. Preliminary results seem to suggest that engineering students in China conceive of unethical behaviors as ones where companies negatively affect people through their products, and that the harmful, other-regarding nature of these behaviors is what makes them unethical. The implications of these results are discussed, as well as shortcomings of the current study and directions for future work.

Clancy, R. F., & Manuel, C., & Clancy, R. J. (2020, June), Mapping Concepts Engineering Students in China Use to Think about Ethics Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34952

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