Improving ethics studies through a spiraling theme based curriculum

Christan Whysong, Kumar Mallikarjunan, Jenny Lo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

One of the ABET criteria specifically requires students to be able to work in a professional and ethical manner upon graduation. Incorporating ethical thinking into student learning has often been considered a challenge in engineering curriculums. The Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) and Engineering Education (EngE) departments at Virginia Tech are working to address this need for increasing student exposure to engineering ethics. It was decided the best method for improving ethics training is for students to continuously revisit engineering ethics at increasing levels of complexity through a spiral themed curriculum. The departments have been compiling a library of ethics case studies, specifically pertaining to Bioprocess Engineering, along with identifying methods for course implementation. Ethics modules have been implemented at the BSE sophomore and senior levels. Modules have consisted of providing students with an introduction to a chosen topic, such as genetically modified products and controversial food ingredients, having them complete a written assignment, participate in an in-class discussion about the topic, and complete pre-and post-assignment questions. In addition to these two modules, other courses are being identified for the incorporation of ethical thinking as part of the spiral curriculum. With continued investment into this spiral curriculum, Virginia Tech will be able to graduate elite engineering students who have problem solving skills and ethical awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2008, ASABE 2008
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Pages7185-7198
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781605605364
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
EventAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2008 - Providence, RI, United States
Duration: Jun 29 2008Jul 2 2008

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2008, ASABE 2008
Volume12

Other

OtherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2008
CountryUnited States
CityProvidence, RI
Period6/29/087/2/08

Keywords

  • Case studies
  • Ethics
  • Spiral curriculum

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