Quality of ethics education in engineering programs using Goodlad’s curriculum typology

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Ethics education is part of many engineering curricula and at the same time a debated matter in terms of its goals, extent and educational approach. The quality of ethics education is, however, not prominently described in engineering education research (EER). To answer this gap, we perform a literature review that focuses on ethics education in EER. We analysed the data using a general quality framework that considers four elements of quality, i.e. relevance, consistency, practicality and effectiveness. We find that EER elaborates on the relevance of ethics education in three different ways: realisation of conceptual goals as honesty, integrity, or social
responsibility; support of engineering concepts as complexity or risk; or instrumentally to comply with national educational standards. EER has little focus on consistency, except for the link with the entire curriculum. Also practicality is little developed, only on whether assessment is valid and reliable in ethics education. Teachers' perceptions of the instrumentality (is it helpful in teaching), congruence (does it fit the circumstances) and cost (is it feasible with the available time and resources) are less stressed. Debates on effectiveness in turn are prominent in ethics education and focus on the influence of: student characteristics and competences; course design; connection with the curriculum; and broader cultural aspects. We conclude
that consistency and practicality are largely missing in ethics education in EER and that many implicit notions of relevance and effectiveness exist. This framework can make quality more explicit and impact the discussions on ethics education in EER.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event47th SEFI Annual Conference: Varietas Delectat: Complexity is the New Normality - Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sept 201919 Sept 2019
Conference number: 47
https://www.sefi.be/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/SEFI2019_Proceedings.pdf (link to proceedings)


Conference47th SEFI Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2019
Internet address


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