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What Should be Taught in Engineering Ethics Education Under Globalization?: Based on the Comparative Analysis of University Textbooks in China and the United States

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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

International Collaborations

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Jiaojiao Fu Beihang University Orcid 16x16

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Jiaojiao FU is a Ph.D. candidate in School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Beihang University Beijing, PRC. She received B.A. in China Agricultural University and M.Ed. in Beihang University, China. Her academic and research interests include engineering education, engineering ethics education, first-year engineering education, lifelong education. From April 2017 to October 2017, she was a visiting scholar in College of Engineering at the Ohio State University.

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Qing Lei Beihang University

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Qing Lei is a professor and the Director of Institute of Higher Education at Beihang University (BUAA), Beijing, China. He has conducted research as a senior visiting scholar in the School of Education at Indiana University in 2002 and in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, he was the Associate Director of the Dean’s Office, BUAA. He received his Ph.D. in 2003, M.Ed. in 1990, and B.Eng. in 1986 from BUAA. His primary social affiliations include the Director of Chinese Academy of Engineering-BUAA Research Center for Engineering Education, and the consulter as a specialist of Beijing Municipal Government. He also served as the member of the executive committee for International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) from 2006 to 2008.

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Deborah M. Grzybowski Ohio State University

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Dr. Deborah Grzybowski is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on making engineering accessible to all students, including students with visual impairments, through the use of art-infused curriculum and models. Prior to becoming focused on student success and retention, her research interests included regulation of intracranial pressure and transport across the blood-brain barrier in addition to various ocular-cellular responses to fluid forces and the resulting implications in ocular pathologies.

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Dongya Cheng Tibet University

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Dongya Cheng, an associate professor and a deputy director of Department of Education and Psychology of Teachers College, at Tibet university, Lhasa,China. His main research areas include education and psychological problems of the population in ethnic minority areas, as well as John Dewey's educational thoughts.In 2015,he received his D.Ed from Southwest University,Chongqing,China , M.Ed from Northwest Normal University,Lanzhou,China,B.Ed from Henan Normal University,Xinxiang,China.

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As an emerging subject, engineering ethics plays an important role in guiding, standardizing and exploiting engineering activities/construction. Prior research shows that engineering ethics generated in each country with diverse backgrounds, and engineering ethics education was also conducted with its own diverse characteristics. However, with the growing multinational cooperation in engineering, the international mobility of engineering students and engineers, and climate change and ecological challenges, engineering ethics has become a global issue. Faced with international engineering ethics problems, taking a global perspective in engineering ethics education will help ensure that engineers can make a more substantial contribution to the development throughout the world.

What should be taught to the future engineers to meet the need of global engineering ethics is the first-line question for universities to answer. As the embodiment of courses standards and syllabi, textbooks are important links between courses design and implementation. They are the materialized results of previous courses research, as well as the necessary tools for the later stage of courses implementation. As the carrier of teaching contents, engineering ethics textbooks are the important source of information that teachers and students can rely on in the engineering ethics teaching. Therefore, this paper presents research on the educational contents of engineering ethics under globalization by comparative analyses of university textbooks in China and the United States. The textbooks selected for this study include three American textbooks- Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases (Charles E. Harris, Michael S. Pritchard, Michael J. Rabins), Engineering Ethics (Charles B. Fleddermann), Ethics in Engineering (Mike W. Martin, Roland Schinzinger), and three Chinese textbooks-Engineering Ethics(Yongqiang Zhang), Engineering Ethics(Song Zhang), Engineering Ethics(Zhengfeng Li, Hangqing Cong, Qian Wang, etc.). All of them are classic and commonly used. Methodologies including keywords extraction, text analysis and comparative research are used to compare the six textbooks from the dimensions of style, frame, topics and cases.

By the comparative study of two of the world’s leading countries in engineering education, the similarities, differences and features of engineering ethics educational contents in both countries are revealed. The generalities reflect the common foci of engineering ethics education. Engineering ethics textbooks set forth the basic concepts, theories and principles of engineering ethics firstly; then according to the special requirements of engineering profession, put forward some issues such as the responsibilities of engineers, stakeholders in engineering, and how to practice ethical norms in science and technology activities and engineering practice; and finally probe the practical problems such as ecological responsibilities of the engineers. These generic and common knowledge are consistent with the goal of engineering ethics education. Findings of the comparison also identify lessons worth learning from each other. Based on the analysis results and the need for globalization, the paper attempts to highlight several key points of engineering ethics educational contents. Due to limited space, the findings which are expected to be helpful to the engineering teachers and students in engineering ethics education are still preliminary. Therefore, further study on engineering ethics textbooks would be conducted to find more similarities and differences in order to better explore the educational contents of engineering ethics education under globalization.

Keywords: engineering ethics, educational contents, textbooks, text analysis, keywords extraction, comparative study

Fu, J., & Lei, Q., & Grzybowski, D. M., & Cheng, D. (2018, June), What Should be Taught in Engineering Ethics Education Under Globalization?: Based on the Comparative Analysis of University Textbooks in China and the United States Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31236

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