Building students’ nascent understanding of ethics in engineering practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Engineering professionals are expected to conduct their work in an ethical manner. However, students may receive limited instruction on ethics and demonstrate resistance to learning about ethics in practice, contributing to graduates being ill-prepared to face ethical dilemmas in the workplace. This study investigated the nascent learning by engineering students (N = 183) about the relevance of ethics to engineering practice in a two-hour workshop that included recounts of experiences that were of immediate relevance to engineering interns and graduates, through use of videos and a serious game. Thematic analysis of qualitative responses highlighted that students gained understanding of how ethics influences engineering practice in general, and how ethical issues influence the work of engineering professionals. Exposing students to the presence of ethical issues in practice through immediately relevant examples early during their studies is likely to improve the way they approach ethics throughout their studies, and subsequently, the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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