A learning module was introduced in a required Mechanical Engineering undergraduate course with the goal of increasing the ethical awareness of students. Specifically, the students were supposed to understand the basic theories of ethics and an engineering code of ethics, apply this understanding to differentiate between ethical and unethical engineering practices, and be able to suggest ethical solutions. The course was junior level Measurements and Instrumentation, taken by 120 students in six sections of about 20 each. In each section, a two-and-a-half-hour “Ethics workshop” was conducted during a lab period which included several interactive student activities such as discussion of theories of ethics, engineering case-studies and guidelines to solve an engineering “problem”, short video clips, a quiz, and an in-depth analysis of a hypothetical situation. At the conclusion of the module, students were asked to prepare a short report on an ethical solution of that situation. A survey was administered several days before and again several days after the workshop with identical questions. Based on the chi-square test, statistically significant increase in the ethical awareness of students was evident. Similar modules were also presented in freshman seminars courses. Although the above survey involved primarily junior students, it appears that the introduction of material on topics of academic integrity would be helpful to first-year students, and the introduction of engineering professional ethics would be useful at the beginning of their major in the first semester in the junior year.

Criteria for accrediting engineering program, Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (2004), http://www.abet.org/Linked%20Documents-UPDATE/Criteria%20and%20pp/05/–0-06-EAC% accessed June 14, 2005
Bloom, B.S., Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., & Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds.) Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Company, Inc. 1959.
National Society of Professional Engineers, Code of ethics for engineers. http://www.nspe.org/ethics/ehl-code.asp, accessed June 14, 2005.
Learning and Teaching Ethics in Engineering workshop manual, prepared by the Leonhard Center, The Rock Ethics Institute and Engineering instructional Services, The Pennsylvania State University, July 2002.
Penn State College of Engineering, Decision Processes, http://www.engr.psu.edu/ethics/process1.asp, accessed June 14, 2005.
Academic Integrity: The Bridge to Professional Ethics video program, producer P. A. Vesilind, Center for Applied Ethics, Duke University, 1995 (16 min)
Professional Engineering Ethics Ethics video program, producer P. A. Vesilind, Center for Applied Ethics, Duke University, 1995. (16 min)
Gilbane Gold: A Case Study in Engineering Ethics, National Institute for Engineering Ethics, National Society of Professional Engineers, 1989 (23 min.)
The Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, Home page, http://www.engr.psu.edu/LeonhardCenter/eec/lc/, accessed June 14, 2005.
Gravetter, F.J. & Wallnau, L.B. Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences: A first course for students of psychology and education. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1992.
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.