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Teaching Engineering Ethics With The Engineering Ethics Challenge Game

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Engineers in Toyland - Come and Play

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1203.1 - 10.1203.13



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Paper Authors

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William Carpenter

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Teaching Engineering Ethics with The Engineering Ethics Challenge Game William C. Carpenter University of South Florida

1. Introduction Most engineers will agree that students should develop a sound grasp of engineering ethics so as to be able to handle ethical situations that arise in the workplace. Indeed ABET 1, recognizing this need, has stipulated as a student outcome that graduates must have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. Thus, most engineering curriculums have either a course on engineering ethics or have the subject of engineering ethics distributed throughout the curriculum.

Engineering ethics is difficult to teach in a lecture format. A standard approach in a typical engineering ethics course is to review the code of ethics of several professional organizations and then to examine case studies in order to show students how to use the codes to support good engineering ethical decisions. Attitudinal change of students is a lengthy process. Students must learn to think like ethical engineers and, for some students, it takes a long time to learn to think in this way. Thus, a number of case studies have to be examined. Often, students find it boring to review the factual material in the codes and tend to lose interest after two or three case studies. Ideally, students are engaged in discussion of the cases considered to emphasize relevant points of the codes and to keep their interest. However, in a lecture format even a skilled professor may find it difficult to involve students in discussion and to hold their interest.

2. An Ideal Course An ideal course format would be one which • addresses engineering ethics in a way that keeps students involved and • addresses the other ABET student outcomes which deal with communication skills and teamwork skills. Lockheed Martin, in response to unsuccessful attempts at covering ethics material in a lecture mode, developed an interesting format for familiarizing their employees with the company’s code of ethics. They developed a board game called The Ethics Challenge2, which is similar to the popular game Monopoly. Employees, by playing this game, learn the material in the company’s code of ethics without losing interest. In The Ethics Challenge game:

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Carpenter, W. (2005, June), Teaching Engineering Ethics With The Engineering Ethics Challenge Game Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15157

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