June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.871.1 - 14.871.14
Measuring the Effectiveness of a Required Ethics Class in an Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum The teaching of engineering ethics in the undergraduate curriculum has been of increasing importance since ABET 2000 requirements were instituted for program accreditation. Many undergraduate engineering programs now include a required course in ethics in order to demonstrate that students have an understanding of their ethical responsibility. The engineering programs at the University of New Orleans (UNO) have for several years required a one credit hour course in engineering ethics, taught by faculty in the Philosophy Department. How effective
Recognizing that academic dishonesty is a problem at most universities, a survey was administered to several classes at UNO. The survey was based on part of a recent large scale study called the PACE-1 Study, involving a seven section survey of 643 undergraduate engineering and pre-engineering students at eleven institutions, ranging from community colleges to large research universities. The PACE-1 study attempted to determine what is student cheating, how often does cheating occur, why do students cheat, and what methods can be used to reduce or stop cheating. Because of time constraints, the UNO survey was based on the first section of the PACE-1 survey. The UNO questionnaire was a short one-page voluntary survey that was given at the beginning of several large undergrad classes in order to try to determine what behaviors each student deems to be cheating and how many times in a typical semester the student participates in this type of behavior. In addition, the UNO survey asked students if they had taken an ethics course.
One hundred and thirty five students completed the survey. The results of the UNO survey were used to compare the self-reported cheating behavior of non-engineering students with that of engineering students. Additionally, the self-reported cheating behavior of engineering students who also reported having taken an ethics class is compared to those who did not indicate that they had taken an ethics class. These comparisons can be used as a measure of the effectiveness of teaching ethics with respect to a reduction of student self-reported cheating behavior.
Academic dishonesty is a problem at most universities, including the University of New Orleans (UNO). The percentage of students who report cheating varies by college major. Recent studies indicate that engineering students more frequently engage in cheating behavior than students of most other majors . At the same time, accredited engineering programs must now demonstrate that their graduates have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility, the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context, and must be able to take into account economic, environmental, sustainability, manufacturability, ethical, health, safety, and other social and political considerations into their designs . Academic dishonesty indicates that many students will approach their professional
Mattei, N. (2009, June), Measuring The Effectiveness Of A Required Ethics Class Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5147
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