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Work in progress - Engineering ethics in a design paradigm

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2 Author(s)
Mark L. Bourgeois ; Biomedical Engineering department, Northwestern University, USA ; Suzanne A. Olds

Many engineering students may feel that ethics is ambiguous and subjective, and that studying ethics is not a good use of their time. Ethics is indeed far from the cut and dry precision of their technical coursework, but it is hardly without structure or rigor. To bridge the perceived gap between engineering and ethics, we felt that the abstract aspects of engineering and the concrete aspects of ethics should be brought closer together. One such area of engineering, in which students already have explicit training dealing with ambiguous non-quantitative problems, is design. We have therefore attempted to model an approach to engineering ethics on the principles of engineering design. The ethical problem is analogized as a design problem, with the principles of the Belmont report as the design goals. We are assessing this approach by employing a pre- and post survey of ethical attitudes, and a pre- and post essay response to an ethical case.

Published in:

2007 37th Annual Frontiers In Education Conference - Global Engineering: Knowledge Without Borders, Opportunities Without Passports

Date of Conference:

10-13 Oct. 2007