Analyzing the perception, judgment and understanding of Ethics among Engineering students in Higher Education

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The Royal Academy of Engineering, which is Britain’s national academy for engineering, identifies and stresses the importance of personal and professional commitments and obligations of professional engineers to enhance the wellbeing of the society. These can be attained by adopting the highest standards of professional conduct and integrity which are now commonly represented as ‘Engineering Ethics’. The engineering profession requires the exploitation of knowledge, resources and innovation and in the process; engineers face different complex situations and scenarios that regularly test their ethical judgment and understanding. A lot of emphasis is therefore placed today on familiarizing engineers with the ethical standards and moral codes of conduct involved in an organization as part of their commitment towards their roles. However, there is very little research conducted so far on the influence of Ethics Education on the moral growth of engineering students. Some recent studies suggest a growing concern among universities on the issue of increasing the ethical knowledge among their students and produce ethically responsible engineers or business leaders. Can Engineering Ethics Education reinforce students’ inclination to act ethically and give a strong foundation to their ethical decision making skills? Some researchers seem to imply that students who attend an ethics based course or module are more likely to recognize the core of a moral issue in a given complex situation than students who haven’t had any such prior experience. Other researchers seem to disagree on that context. There is also a degree of uncertainty and inconsistency as to how Ethics related courses can be incorporated and delivered as part of an Engineering curriculum. It is also not clear at what stage should engineering students be exposed to ethics courses?
This study aims to bring clarity in some of these areas by examining the perception and decision making skills among two groups of students: one which has attended a course on ethics and the other which hasn’t. It uses the example of the MSc Engineering Management Programme at York where a session on Engineering Ethics is delivered every year. This study will analyze the potential of Ethics Education in boosting a student’s ethical responsibility, awareness and decision making skills.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2016
Event15th International Conference on Information Technology based Higher Education and Training (ITHET) - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 8 Sept 201610 Nov 2016


Conference15th International Conference on Information Technology based Higher Education and Training (ITHET)

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