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The effectiveness of videos as a learning tool in an engineering ethics course: A students' perspective

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1193.1 - 23.1193.12



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Paper Authors


Mona Itani American University of Beirut

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Mona Intani graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2006 and began a profession in computer and communications engineering. Itani has worked for multinational telecommunications companies for four years. After earning her master's in Engineering Management, she joined the engineering management program at the American University of Beirut. She currently teaches engineering ethics and is working on several research projects related to engineering education and management. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the UK.

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The effectiveness of videos as a learning tool in an engineering ethics course    Top engineering schools worldwide require their students to enroll in an engineeringethics course mainly because it serves as a soft introduction to real situations andscenarios usually encountered in the workplace. Moreover,   the   applied   ethics   courses  help   meet   accreditation   requirements   such   as   ABET   criteria   of   professional   skills  which   includes   “understanding   ethics   and   professionalism”.   However, theeffectiveness of the teaching of ethics courses remains controversial as some researchargues that the conventional instructional methods result only in superficial effectivenessand recommend the use of interactive learning, case studies, problem solving, videos,games, simulation, and role-playing among other tools to improve the quality of ethicsinstruction. With   the   increasing   use   of   videos   in   higher   education   across   all  disciplines   from   arts,   humanities,   and   sciences   to   professional   and   vocational  curricula   (Video   use   and   higher   education,   2009),   the   question   remains   to   be:   Are  videos   really   an   effective   tool   for   teaching   ethics?   If   this   is   true,   which   videos   are  better   to   use:   documentaries   or   commercial   movies?   What   is   the   level   of  understanding  of  the  students  of  these  movies,  and  can  they  relate  the  content  of  the  course  to  the  ethical  concepts  embedded  in  the  movie?  This study aims at exploringthe effectiveness of videos in engineering ethics instruction and determining which typeof videos is most effective by surveying a number of students enrolled in an engineeringethics course at the American University of Beirut about their opinions regarding threemovies of ethical relevance. By examining the responses of 54 students, the study resultsdid not refute the hypotheses whereby it was drawn that videos are indeed a usefullearning tool in applied ethics courses and that the use of commercial movies such asHollywood movies is more effective than showing documentaries and hypothetical ethicsvideos.                                    

Itani, M. (2013, June), The effectiveness of videos as a learning tool in an engineering ethics course: A students' perspective Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22578

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