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Teaching ethics to engineers: Bringing academics on board



Duffour, Bell, Soklay, and Haklay paper at fPET-2010

Duffour, Bell, Soklay, and Haklay paper at fPET-2010



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Teaching ethics to engineers: Bringing academics on board Teaching ethics to engineers: Bringing academics on board Presentation Transcript

  • Teaching ethics to engineers: bringing academics on board Philippe Duffour, Sarah Bell, Christian Solberg and Muki Haklay UCL fPET 2010 Golden, Colorado
  • Engineering academics and ethics
    • UCL curriculum context
    • Ethics toolkit evaluation
    • Staff responses to teaching engineering ethics
  • Civil and Environmental Degree Programme Structure
    • Major reforms 2006
    • Clusters
      • Tools
      • Mechanisms
      • Change
      • Context
    • Scenarios
    • Tutorials
  • Ethics in the UCL Curriculum
    • Ethics learning outcomes covered in ‘context cluster’
      • Professional issues
      • Social context
      • Sustainable development
    • Royal Academy of Engineering Ethics Curriculum Map
    • Ethics toolkit for UCL academics 2009
  • Ethics toolkit
    • Extended learning outcomes
    • Integrating ethics in curriculum
      • Tutorials, lectures, scenarios, new courses
    • Resources for staff
      • Case studies
      • Codes of conduct
      • Reading lists
  • Evaluation of ethics teaching and toolkit
    • Are engineering academics engaged in engineering ethics?
    • Are engineering academics interested in teaching ethics?
    • What is the best way to teach ethics in our department?
    • Is our toolkit effective?
  • Research method
    • Independent research student
    • Anonymous interviews with staff
    • 13 of 36 responded so far
      • In progress
      • Self-selecting
    • Qualitative analysis and coding
  • Major themes
    • What is ethics?
    • Personal ethics
    • Why teach ethics?
    • How best to teach ethics?
  • … the engineering profession needs to sort of stand up for non-financial values, you know, on honesty, health and safety, fairness.
  • What is ethics?
    • Social purpose of engineering
    • Environmental values
    • Sustainability
    • Fairness
    • Bribery and corruption
    • Codes of conduct
    • Big questions and everyday interactions
  • Personal ethics
    • Career paths
    • Military research
    • Research partners
    • Research ethics
    • Few direct ethical dilemmas
  • … it’s probably more reprehensible to send out an engineer without ethical thinking than it is without mathematical thinking.
  • Why teach ethics?
    • Essential
    • Develop critical reasoning
    • Good decision making throughout a career
    • Students bring an ethical framework from their families and background
    • Teaching ethics by example
    • Teaching ethics is difficult
  • … what you need to do is make the staff conscious of ethical issues. I think it’s more important to make the staff aware so they can then incorporate it in their teaching where appropriate.
  • How to best teach ethics?
    • Integrated rather than separate course
      • Crowded curriculum
    • Core curriculum, not only tutorials
    • Lectures largely ineffective
      • Case studies
      • Projects
      • Personal examples
    • Poor uptake of the toolkit
  • Conclusions
    • Academics broadly understand engineering ethics
    • Personal experience of ethics is framed in research practice
    • Teaching ethics is important but difficult
    • Incorporate ethics into existing activities
    • Engineering ethics toolkit has not been utilised