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This content will become publicly available on June 1, 2023

Title: Assessing Awareness and Competency of Engineering Freshmen on Ethical and Responsible Research and Practices
This paper presents the initial work of a recently funded NSF project on ethical and responsible research and practices in science and engineering. The objective of this research is to improve instructor training, interventions, and student outcomes in high schools and universities to improve awareness and commitment to ethical practices in STEM coursework. The project will generate a robust snapshot of the ethical knowledge, reasoning skills, attitudes, and practices of several thousand undergraduate engineering students. This snapshot will inform the development of a three-week enrichment opportunity for high school STEM teachers. Working with university faculty and graduate students, these teachers will develop learning modules on ethical issues related to their courses. The snapshot will also identify gaps and guide the creation of targeted interventions that will be used in second-, third-, and fourth-year engineering courses. This data-driven project uses a mixed-methods approach to generate a better understanding of the impact of ethics interventions at various points in a student's academic development by developing and using a set of instruments to measure cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of ethical competency and self-efficacy. To that end, a second snapshot will be taken by testing and surveying engineering students in their capstone courses more » to provide a broad overview of the competence and self-confidence that engineering students have in dealing with ethical STEM issues, to determine the efficacy of various interventions, and to improve future interventions. Utilizing repeated measures and possessing a longitudinal dimension, the project will generate extensive data about the development of ethical competency, ethical self-efficacy, and their relationship. The interventions designed for secondary and tertiary classrooms will build on best practices for micro-insertion of ethics content that are practical and help students understand how technical competencies fit within broader social, economic, and environmental contexts. The capstone snapshot will also provide some measure of the impact of other experiences (e.g., undergraduate research, internships, service learning) and courses (e.g., humanities, social science, and business courses) on development of ethical practices. This report marks the start of a five-year project; therefore, the results presented in this paper represent findings from the engineering ethics literature and baseline results from survey of engineering freshmen at Texas A&M University. The findings from the survey are being utilized in developing intervention modules that will be integrated in upper-level engineering courses and training materials for high school teachers. « less
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Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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