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A Joint-Venture Approach in Teaching Students How to Recognize and Analyze Ethical Scenarios

Educating engineering students on how to identify and navigate ethical situations can increase their awareness of and ability to analyze ethical issues they will encounter in their professional lives.

Published onJan 27, 2020
A Joint-Venture Approach in Teaching Students How to Recognize and Analyze Ethical Scenarios
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Abstract

Educating engineering students on how to identify and navigate ethical situations can increase their awareness of and ability to analyze ethical issues they will encounter in their professional lives. Many engineering programs lack a systematic incorporation of ethics into their curricula, which may leave students without an appreciation of the significance of ethics in everyday engineering decisions. The goal of this project is to develop a system of ethics modules that can be efficiently incorporated into engineering courses. Several methods of teaching ethics were piloted in a sophomore level biomechanics class, in which 80% of students felt they learned the most from a joint-venture method over alternative methods. This joint-venture module incorporates an ethics professional as a guest lecturer who exposes students to different tools to understand professional and ethical responsibilities. Joint-venture modules, customized to course content, were then implemented in three biomedical engineering courses at the freshman, sophomore, and senior levels. The professors indicate that the ethics analyses were easy to incorporate into their curriculum without distracting from the engineering content, and 90% of the participating students agreed that the ethics guest lecture was helpful in identifying and navigating the ethical situations presented.

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Jackson, X., Jasensky, Z., Liang, V., Moore, M., Rogers, J., Pfeifer, G., & Billiar, K. L. (2015). A Joint-Venture Approach in Teaching Students How to Recognize and Analyze Ethical Scenarios. Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal6(3–4), 197–209. https://doi.org/10.1615/ethicsbiologyengmed.2016014325

*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author

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