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SEMINAR: Using Scaffolded, Interactive, and Reflexive Analysis of Cases in a Cyber-Enabled Learning Infrastructure to Develop Moral Reasoning and Empathy in Engineering Ethics Education

Event Date: October 31, 2013
Speaker: Justin Hess, School of Engineering Education; Andrew Brightman, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Time: 3:30pm
Location: ARMS B071

Each year thousands of new engineers join the workforce and face novel issues raised by radical technological advances. Concurrently, changing societal responses to new technologies introduce novel conflicts in research and development that challenge the scope of established professional codes of ethics. These issues create a critical demand for new approaches that help students develop empathy and moral reasoning for ethical decision-making. Our multidisciplinary team of engineering, communication, and ethics educators has developed and tested a novel pedagogical framework of Scaffolded, Interactive, and Reflexive Analysis (SIRA) of ethics cases to enhance development of moral reasoning that extends beyond case-based analyses. Implemented as a series of two-week cyber-enabled learning modules, with cases from several engineering disciplines, this theory-based, data-driven, cyber-enabled framework for ethics education has applicability across a broad spectrum of disciplines and provides engineering educators with limited ethics training a tested framework and set of resources and modules to adapt and use in their own disciplines. In this presentation, we discuss our work in progress on the SIRA framework, its implementation, and our assessment of changes in empathy, moral reasoning, and student satisfaction when utilizing this model. 

Justin Hess is a Ph.D. student at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education and a current National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research focuses on understanding engineers’ core values, dispositions, and worldviews. His dissertation focuses on conceptualizations, the importance of, and methods to teach empathy to engineering students. He is currently the Education Director for Engineers for a Sustainable World and an assistant editor for Engineering Studies.

Andrew O. Brightman, PhD, is the Assistant Head in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. In this role he has overseen the development of both the undergraduate and the graduate curricula and participated in the design and teaching of many of the BME courses, including a graduate–level course in Biomedical Engineering Ethics.  Andrew has also recently developed the curriculum for a new online Professional MS degree with a concentration in regulatory affairs for medical devices and a new course in clinical and translational research ethics to support the Weldon School’s Medical Scientist/Engineer Training Program offered jointly with the Indiana University School of Medicine.