June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.1670.1 - 22.1670.13
We can’t get no satisfaction!: The relationship between students’ ethical reasoning andtheir satisfaction with engineering ethics educationIn a time of constricting budgets and growing demands from students, student satisfaction isoften a factor in deciding which educational programs continue to be supported and funded.Program and course evaluations often rely on student satisfaction reports rather than moresophisticated assessments of effectiveness, and published engineering education research usesstudent satisfaction as an outcome in evaluating education interventions and types of courses.Satisfaction has also been linked to student motivation and retention.Little research, however, has been done to analyze which student characteristics and experiencespredict satisfaction with any type of higher education program, and this question is absent in thepublished research on professional engineering ethics education. In this paper, we examine thefollowing research question: How do student characteristics, experiences, and ethicaldevelopment predict satisfaction with professional engineering ethics education?This study is part of a larger investigation of ethics education in engineering programs at 18institutions of differing Carnegie classifications, geographic location, and student characteristics.We analyzed survey data collected from a stratified random sample of engineering students(n=3914) at these institutions. Students completed questions related to measures of three types ofethical development: knowledge of ethics, ethical reasoning, and ethical behavior. In addition,they provided demographic information, details about their ethics education, and reported theirsatisfaction with their professional engineering ethics education to date.We use analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare the ethical reasoning scores – as measured byRest and colleagues’ Defining Issues Test-2 – of students who reported being “very satisfied,”“satisfied,” “unsatisfied,” and “very unsatisfied” with their engineering ethics education. The testdemonstrates that students with higher levels of ethical reasoning are less satisfied with theirethics education than their peers with lower levels of ethical reasoning, and we find significantdifferences between all four groups of students. The score of students who were “verydissatisfied” with their education was more than 0.280 standard deviations higher than those whowere “very satisfied.”With the results of the ANOVA as a starting point, we explore other systematic differencesamong students based on their satisfaction with their engineering ethics education. Using anordered logistic regression model with the four levels of satisfaction as the outcome, we examinethe effect of student demographics, characteristics of students’ ethics instruction, and otherstudent characteristics and experiences on self-reported satisfaction with ethics education.Preliminary results suggest that factors including gender, class year, and amount and type ofethics instruction predict students’ level of satisfaction. Finally, we re-examined the relationshipbetween ethical reasoning and satisfaction within the context of this regression model todetermine the nature of that relationship after controlling for these other factors – allowing us toconclude that even while taking into account other variables, satisfaction with ethics instructionis inversely related to ethical reasoning, an intended outcome of that instruction. We conclude thepaper by offering practical suggestions for making ethics instruction both effective and satisfyingto students.
Holsapple, M., & Sutkus, J. A., & Carpenter, D. D., & Finelli, C. J., & Burt, B. A., & Ra, E., & Harding, T. S., & Bielby, R. M. (2011, June), We Can’t Get No Satisfaction!: The Relationship between Students’ Ethical Reasoning and their Satisfaction with Engineering Ethics Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18508
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