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“Mapping” the Landscape of First-Year Engineering Students’ Conceptualizations of Ethical Decision Making

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Cornucopia

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36534

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36534

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Joshua Bourne Reed Rowan University

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Josh Reed is an engineering masters student at Rowan University working for the Experiential Engineering Education department. He has graduated with a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Rowan University. Josh is very passionate about education as well as the social issues in both the engineering and education systems. He hopes to further his understanding in both of these fields.

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Scott Streiner Rowan University

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Dr. Scott Streiner is an assistant professor in the Experiential Engineering Education Department (ExEEd) at Rowan University. He received his Ph.D in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, with a focus in engineering education. His research interests include engineering global competency, curricula and assessment; pedagogical innovations through game-based and playful learning; spatial skills development and engineering ethics education. His funded research explores the nature of global competency development by assessing how international experiences improve the global perspectives of engineering students. Dr. Streiner has published papers and given presentations in global engineering education at several national conferences. Scott is an active member in the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) both locally and nationally, as well as the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE).

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Daniel D. Burkey University of Connecticut

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Daniel Burkey is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Professor-in-Residence in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1998, and his M.S.C.E.P and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000 and 2003, respectively. His primary areas of interest are game-based education, engineering ethics, and process safety education.

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Richard Tyler Cimino New Jersey Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4171-4133

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Dr. Richard T. Cimino is a Senior Lecturer in the Otto H. York Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from the Rutgers University, with a focus in adsorption science and the characterization of porous materials. His research interests include engineering ethics and process safety, and broadening inclusivity in engineering, especially among the LGBTQ+ community. His previous funded research has explored the effects of implicit bias on ethical decision making in the engineering classroom.

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Jennifer Pascal University of Connecticut

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Jennifer Pascal is an Assistant Professor in Residence at the University of Connecticut. She earned her PhD from Tennessee Technological University in 2011 and was then an NIH Academic Science Education and Research Training (ASERT) Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New Mexico. Her research interests include the integration of fine arts and engineering and developing effective methods to teach transport phenomena.

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Michael F. Young University of Connecticut Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8921-0930

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Dr. Young (http://myoung.education.uconn.edu/) received his PhD from Vanderbilt University in Cognitive Psychology and directs UConn’s 2 Summers in Learning Technology program. He is the author of nine chapters on an ecological psychology approach to instructional design and has authored more than two dozen peer reviewed research papers. His work has appeared in many major journals including the Journal of Educational Computing Research, the Journal of the Learning Sciences, the Journal of Research on Science Teaching, Instructional Science, and Educational Technology Research and Development.
Mike's research concerns how people think and learning, and specifically how technology can enhance the way people think and learn. His NSF-funded project, GEEWIS (http://www.geewis.uconn.edu/), focused on streaming real-time water quality pond data via the Internet and providing support for the integration of this authentic data into secondary and higher education science classrooms. His approach features the analysis of log files, "dribble files," that maintain time-stamped listing of navigation choices and lag time. This approach has been applied to hypertext reading (Spencer Foundation grant), videodisc-based problem solving (Jasper project), and online navigation (Jason project). Recent work concerns playful learning using video game, card games, and board games aligned with national teaching and learning standards.

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Abstract

When working in a professional world, engineers often encounter problems that involve social and ethical considerations that cannot be solved using the technical skills that make up a majority of their engineering education. When encountering ethical challenges, an engineer should have ethical awareness and be reflective on the ethical implications of their decisions. It is important for universities to focus on improving their students’ ethical reasoning and social awareness if they want to develop successful engineering graduates that are ready to take on the challenges of the professional world. One way that the instruction of engineering ethics can improve is through increasing the understanding of prior knowledge that the students have. This will allow educators to create a better and more focused curriculum. This NSF-funded research study investigates how first-year engineering students conceptualize ethics and ethical decision making through the completion and analysis of concept maps.

Concept maps have been used for many years to illustrate an individual’s or a group’s topic knowledge. Concept maps have also been used at the start of a lesson to gain a baseline of students’ understanding. 225 first-year students from University of Connecticut, Rowan University, and University of Pittsburgh were asked to create concept maps of “ethical decision making” in engineering at the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year. We analyzed the concept maps using both qualitative and quantitative approaches to gain a baseline measure of students' ethical awareness and decision making in selected contexts. Using the CMapsTools™ web tool, we analyzed the maps based on size, quality, and structure. The concept maps were then analyzed using text analysis to identify common words and concepts. Some patterns observed were that students do not include many links between concepts and therefore may have a low understanding of how such concepts are related. Students also leave out many important concepts in engineering ethics such as codes of ethics and ethical frameworks. With the knowledge gained from this research, first-year engineering programs can better explore how incoming students view decision-making and design more effective instructional practices.

Reed, J. B., & Streiner, S., & Burkey, D. D., & Cimino, R. T., & Pascal, J., & Young, M. F. (2021, July), “Mapping” the Landscape of First-Year Engineering Students’ Conceptualizations of Ethical Decision Making Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36534

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