June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Over the past several decades professional societies (i.e., ASEE) and accreditation boards (i.e., ABET) have increasingly required engineering programs to provide students with education about professional and engineering ethics. As a result, significant progress has been made at higher education institutions across the US in researching and implementing ethics educational interventions. However, there remains a fundamental question of how to best assess the effectiveness of these educational interventions. While numerous quantitative and qualitative measures currently exist, they are often done exclusively post-intervention. Engineering programs typically do not assess the development of students’ ethical reasoning prior to engaging in the aforementioned interventions or over the course of a semester.
The purpose of this work-in-progress study is to provide a preliminary framework for assessing the effectiveness of ethics interventions on the ethical reasoning of first year engineering students. We will examine how the ethical reasoning of first-year students changes over the course of their first-year curriculum when exposed to a specific set of engineering ethics interventions. The ethics interventions consist of several educational modules to teach ethical reasoning strategies within the context of a first year engineering course. These modular activities include materials borrowed from the literature such as a ‘Cards Against Engineering Ethics’ game as well as interventions developed at the institution, such as ethics case study assignments and a gamified learning platform.
The ability of first year engineering students to perform ethical reasoning will be assessed using a mixed-methods approach. This approach will involve the use of two related quantitative instruments - the Defining Issues Test (DIT-2) and the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI), as well as a think-aloud study. The quantitative instruments, which are designed to assess reasoning via the Kohlbergian model of moral development, will be implemented in a pre-post model with instructional interventions taking place between the assessment. The think-aloud study will be conducted on a subset of the students to further investigate their reasoning processes, and will be analyzed by provisional coding using the informal reasoning model of Sadler and Zeidler. The goal of this study is to develop a practical and effective method for engineering programs to assess the impact of their ethics educational practices, and to demonstrate how these interventions can improve the ethical reasoning skills of their students.
Cimino, R. T., & Streiner, S. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Assessment of Ethics Interventions in a First-Year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33596
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