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Using Videos To Teach The Ethical Use Of Engineering Information

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

New Tools and Techniques for Information Literacy

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1367.1 - 13.1367.8



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Paper Authors


William Baer Wichita State University

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WILLIAM M. BAER is an associate professor and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Librarian at Wichita State University. He earned degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering (BS) and Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Brigham Young University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Videos to Teach the Ethical Use of Engineering Information


The engineering profession has always valued ethical behavior. However, it seems that unethical behavior is more and more prevalent in our classes. The rising incidence of plagiarism is and should be a concern to educators not only to ensure academic integrity but also because of the implications for our profession. The ethical use of engineering information is important for our students to learn.

This article describes the production of a series of videos intended to give engineering students a foundation in the ethical use of engineering information. Topics covered by the videos include copyright, plagiarism, and citing materials. Camtasia software was used to create short videos in Flash format. Flash format videos are easy to place on the web, and can also be inserted into a course on BlackBoard. Scores from tests for the videos can be directly inserted into the grade book.

From its inception the project relied on cooperation between the faculty of the college of engineering and the library. The faculty were consulted at every stage of the creation process. The feedback they provided was invaluable. Pre and post tests were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the videos.

The Plagiarism Issue

Ethics has always played an important role in the engineering professions. According to the Code of Ethics for Engineers presented by the National Society of Professional Engineers, “engineers are expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”1 In fact, the document gives as one of its fundamental cannons that engineers should, “conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.”

Unethical academic practices commonly occur in the university setting. It would be nice to think that engineering students are more ethical than their counterparts, but one study has shown the opposite to be true. Donald McCabe found that 72% of engineering students admitted to “one or more acts of serious cheating in the past year” compared to 66% of other students.2 We need to do all we can do to instill ethics into the engineering students at our institutions. Learning to use information in an ethical manner should not be overlooked when teaching about ethics.

Plagiarism is not new to the academic environment, but it seems to be on the rise. Even publishers of scholarly journals are worried about the rising occurrences of plagiarism in articles submitted for publication.3

The Internet has changed way students plagiarize to some extent because it has changed the way they research. A wealth of information is now at the researcher’s fingertips. A library of information is brought straight to their desks. The phrase “cut and paste plagiarism” expresses

Baer, W. (2008, June), Using Videos To Teach The Ethical Use Of Engineering Information Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4197

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