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The Ethical Judgement Processes of Students in Computing: Implications for Professional Development

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

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Paper Authors


Amir Hedayati Mehdiabadi University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Amir Hedayati is a PhD Candidate in Human Resource Development at College of Education at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2008 and his M.B.A. from University of Tehran in 2011. He has presented his research in past years at multiple conferences including American Evaluation Association, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and Academy of Human Resource Development. Besides completing his dissertation, which is focused on ethical decision making processes among computer majors, he is working on a framework for developing computing professional ethics. His research interests include ethics education, computer ethics, talent development, online learning, and evaluation.

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Development of engineers and specifically computing professionals who not only possess technical knowledge and skills but also can make ethical decisions is of great importance. The aim of this research is to investigate (1) how Computing majors reason when it comes to ethical decision-making in a collaborative setting, and (2) the key biases inherent in ethical judgements of students in Computing. The data in this grounded theory study consists of the postings of 33 undergraduate computing majors (26 males and 7 females) in online forum discussions in response to three ethical scenarios and the comments they provided on their peers’ responses, along with the follow up interviews with 19 students. Based on the findings, students’ decisions are highly influenced by the specifics of situation and the nature of the moral issue and the perceived relevance and the perceived responsibility seem to be the key. Moreover, when students consider the end users in the process of their judgements in a caring way, they are able to make better decisions. The implications of the findings of this research for teaching ethics will be discussed.

Hedayati Mehdiabadi, A. (2018, June), The Ethical Judgement Processes of Students in Computing: Implications for Professional Development Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31099

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