New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
The [unit name] College of Engineering at the [university name] has four active graduate degree programs with a diverse population, including a sizable international component. Faculty felt that a rigorous training in ethics was needed to better prepare incoming students for successful graduate studies and to be prepared for working professionally after graduation. Therefore, a workshop was developed that covered four major topics: Research Ethics, Computer Coding Ethics, Publishing Ethics, and Intellectual Property, which covered copyright law, patent law, and trade secrets. In order to develop this ethics workshop, some of the more successful ethics instructions at U.S. engineering programs were investigated. The international composition of the engineering graduate student population at [university name] was considered during the planning stage to ensure that students would become familiar with the cultural norms for ethics within the U.S.
The first hour of the workshop consisted of an introduction by the Associate Dean [full title] regarding the importance of understanding the need for making informed ethical decisions, followed by a lecture that introduced definitions for relevant key terms, including ethics, plagiarism, and copyright. This was followed by a brief introduction of the four ethics topics listed above. The lecture established a common basis of understanding for the remainder of the workshop. Further, this portion made the participants better prepared to ask questions during the second half of the workshop, which was an open discussion with a panel of experts drawn from across the university, including the [university name]’s [unit name] School of Law, and engineering faculty. The moderator of this question-and-answer session prepared discussion prompts, which were augmented by anonymous questions submitted by the participants on index cards during the workshop. At the end of the workshop, each participant received a flash drive with the lecture slides, a document containing written answers provided by the panelists, a bibliography, and resource materials for all four ethics topics.
Two assessment tools of the workshop were used: • An optional pre-workshop survey, consisting of four questions drawn from the four ethics topics; • A required post-workshop survey that had the same pre-workshop survey questions as well as an opportunity to provide feedback.
Preliminary results included: 1) Significant support for continuing to offer the workshop from the [university name] engineering faculty panelists, particularly Electrical and Computer Engineering, Construction, and Mechanical Engineering faculty 2) A good level of attendance by both new and returning graduate students. 3) Results from the pre and post survey questions indicated an improved understanding of ethics within the context of engineering graduate studies. Based on the pilot test of this workshop in May 2015 and the first two sessions rolled out in Fall 2015, it was decided to offer the workshops to incoming graduate students within the college. The focus of current activities includes evaluating the workshops and refining the agenda of future ones.
Trabia, M. B., & Longo, J. A., & Wainscott, S. (2016, June), Training Graduate Engineering Students in Ethics Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27072
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