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A team-taught interdisciplinary approach to engineering ethics.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Science and Engineering Ethics
1353-3452
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
2
Pages
313–320
Identifiers
PMID: 16609717
Source
Medline

Abstract

This paper outlines the development and implementation of a new course in Engineering Ethics at the University of Tennessee. This is a three-semester-hour course and is jointly taught by an engineering professor and a philosophy professor. While traditional pedagogical techniques such as case studies, position papers, and classroom discussions are used, additional activities such as developing a code of ethics and student-developed scenarios are employed to encourage critical thinking. Among the topics addressed in the course are engineering as a profession and its role in society; ethical successes and failures; risk, safety, and the environment; professional responsibilities; credit and intellectual property; and international concerns. The most significant aspect of the course is that it brings both engineering and non-engineering points of view to the topics at hand. This is accomplished in two ways. First, as mentioned previously, it is team-taught by engineering faculty with an interest in ethical and societal issues, and by philosophy faculty with expertise in the field of professional ethics and an interest in science and technology. Second, the course is offered to both engineers and non-engineers. This mix of students requires that all students must be able to explain their technical and ethical decisions in a non-technical manner. Work teams are structured to maximize interdisciplinary interaction and to foster insights by each student into the professional commitments and attitudes of others.

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