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Title: Expanding the Boundaries of Ethical Reasoning and Professional Responsibility in Engineering Education Through Critical Narratives
The basic tenets of professional responsibility in engineering require a commitment to ideals that elevate the public health, safety, and welfare of communities while also acknowledging the complex interactions between social, environmental, and economic factors. To fulfill these tenets, engineering curriculum can enhance students’ critical thinking through the inclusion of critical narratives. Critical narratives are structured, place-based stories intended to foster connections between the audience, specific cultures, and communities. For this pilot study, seniors in capstone design courses answered questions about three critical narratives, responded to peers’ answers, and reflected on this process. Researchers sought to increase students’ critical thinking skills and their understanding of ethics and professional responsibility. This paper describes only the qualitative results from a larger quasi-experimental mixed-methods study aimed at evaluating the impacts of student engagement with critical narratives. During each stage of coding, researchers used memos to document their thinking and rationale for coding items in particular ways and calibrated to ensure that codes were validated. From these codes, the following generalized themes were identified: Critical Thinking Transference, Ethical Responsibilities, Contextualizes Professional Responsibility, and Interaction Matters. Preliminary findings suggest that engagement with critical narratives does help some students make connections between their profession and the broader impacts of engineering work. For example, the critical narratives encourage students to engage in metacognition, apply and synthesize information, practice dynamic learning, identify clear aspects of professional ethics, and see “grey” areas of ethical or moral dilemmas. Prompts to the critical narratives also encouraged students to weigh influence, potential harm, and passion in relation to their ethical responsibility as an engineer. Some students even provided unsolicited declarations of appreciation for the critical narrative intervention. Lastly, interaction with peers concerning the critical narratives encouraged meaningful dialogue about ethical dilemmas that some students might not otherwise engage in throughout the capstone design sequence.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2024973
NSF-PAR ID:
10382991
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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