OSU Catalog Description
The idea of responsibility and the ethical responsibilities of the engineer. Introduction to value, ethics, and ethical systems. Engineering as value creation and the ethical ramifications of engineering. Codes of engineering ethics. Recognizing and addressing ethical dilemmas in engineering. Examination of the individual, social, and environmental effects of engineering and technology. (Baccalaureate Core Course)
3 credits (3 hours of lecture per week)
This course satisfies the Bacc Core Science, Technology, and Society requirement.
Meeting Times and Location
MWF 1100-1150 in BAT 144
Instructor: Dr. Ken Funk
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 541-737-2357 Office: Rogers 212 Office Hours:
or when the door is open, or by appointment
Mon 4:00 - 5:00 PM Wed 4:00 - 5:00 PM Fri 2:00 - 3:00 PM
Martin, M.W. and R. Schinzinger. Ethics in Engineering. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005.
This book is out of print, but a reprint version is available at the OSU bookstore and used copies of the original are available through online booksellers. Earlier editions are also available, but they differ substantially from the fourth, and their use for this course is discouraged. If you use the bookstore's reprint, please note that it has two page numbers on each page: the reprint version's number in the upper outside corner and the original version's number below that. Page number references in this course will be to those of the original. One copy of the reprint is available on 3-hour reserve in the OSU library.
After completing this course, you should be able to:
- Define and describe the fundamental terms and concepts of ethics and explain how they apply to the practice of engineering.
- Describe, compare, and contrast several ethical systems (e.g., utilitarianism, duty ethics, virtue ethics, religious ethics) and apply them to the examination of ethical issues in engineering.
- Clearly state your own personal ethical principles and apply them to ethical issues in engineering.
- Recognize an engineering ethical dilemma and apply a systematic process of moral reasoning to resolve it.
- Explain the advantages and limitations of engineering ethics codes and apply one to the resolution of an ethical dilemma.
- Define responsibility, identify to whom and to what you will be responsible as a practicing engineer, and give examples of how you might fulfill -- or fail to fulfill -- those responsibilities.
- Describe the effects of technology on individuals, society, and the environment and apply your ethical principles, as well as those of other ethical systems, to the critical examination of technology in light of those effects.
- Analyze relationships among science, technology, and society using critical perspectives or examples from historical, political, or economic disciplines.
- Analyze the role of science and technology in shaping diverse fields of study over time.
- Articulate in writing a critical perspective on issues involving science, technology, and society using evidence as support.
The course format is reading, lecture, and focused discussion. Readings, assigned in the Schedule, will come from the text and the instructor will provide Discussion Questions in advance of each discussion. You should read the material, think carefully about it, and answer the questions in writing before coming to class. You may wish to bring two copies of your answers to class, one to turn in at the beginning of class as a record of your preparation and attendance, the other for you to refer to in class discussions.
Class will start on time and it is your responsibility to be on time to class. If you have a long walk from your previous class to this one or if there are other circumstances beyond your control that will make you late to class, let the instructor know so that accommodations can be made.
Class meetings will usually center around the discussion questions for that day, sometimes beginning with a lecture summarizing the material in the text and supplementing it with other information. The instructor may ask you to give your answer to a specific discussion question and sometimes he will pose additional questions in class for you to think, write, and speak about, either individually or in small groups.
When slides are used in class, the instructor will post them on this website in the Slides folder under Resources, but probably not much before class time. Come prepared to listen carefully and take good notes.
The following summarizes the coursework, with the possible points for grading purposes. These coursework elements are described in the paragraphs below and their due dates are given in the Schedule.
Attendance and Discussion Question Answers credit (see below)
Midterm Examination 100 points Final Examination 100 Micro issue paper 40 Macro issue paper 60 Total 300 points Instructor adjustment based on punctuality, class participation, etc. +/- 10 points
Preparation and Attendance
Preparation for and attendance at all class meetings (see Schedule) are mandatory, but two unexcused absences are permitted without penalty. As verification of preparation and attendance, you must personally submit your answers to the Discussion Questions assigned for that class (see below, plus the Schedule); you may not have your answers submitted by another in your absence. The penalty for missed attendance or missing answers is 10 points per class meeting missed (two excused, per above). Discussion Question answers will be collected at the beginning of class, so answers submitted after the beginning of class may not be accepted. Even if answers are submitted on time, repeated failure to provide satisfactory answers to all required questions may result in point penalties.
Answers to DIscussion Questions should be complete and clear, but they need not be in grammatically perfect prose (bulleted lists or outlines will be sufficent), but a reader should be able to get your main points and see that you thought carefully about the questions before you answered them. Besides that, when answering Discussion Questions,
- any idea in your answer that is not your own should be attributed to its source, for example, "According to the text (p. 261) ..." or "The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'welfare' as ..." or just "... (Oxford English Dictionary)". Although you must use formal MLA-style, in-text citations in your issue papers, informal citations like these are acceptable here. If you want to be perfectly clear that an idea is your own, say so: "In my opinion ..." or "From my experience ..." or just "... (my opinion)".
- do not use a word or its derivative to define a word.
- allow two or three lines beneath each answer to allow the grader to write comments.
- make sure that you answer all parts of all required questions. Typically, answer sets will have a few required questions and several more that are optional.
The midterm and final examinations will be closed-book, closed-notes, but you may use one 8½" x 11" (both sides) "cheat" sheet for each exam. The final exam will be comprehensive, but with emphasis on material covered after the midterm.
You will write two brief (two to four pages) issue papers, one addressing a "micro" engineering ethics issue, one that an individual engineer might (or did) face, the other addressing a "macro" engineering ethics issue, one that an organization, the profession, or even all of society does or might face. Your issue paper will provide background on the issue, a concise statement of the issue, moral clarity (the moral or ethical principles that apply), conceptual clarity (definitions of key concepts and descriptions of how the principles apply to the issue), and a summary of key facts and assumptions. It will identify several options to resolve the issue, describe your reasoning process in choosing an option, and clearly indicate which option you chose. More detailed information about the issue papers, suggestions for possible issues, and several issue paper examples will be given in class.
Each required Discussion Question answer will be evaluated for correctness, completeness, and clarity, and graded: + (good), ✓ (satisfactory), or - (unsatisfactory). An overall + / ✓ / - grade will be given to each answer set. Attendance credit will be given for all answer set grades (except when no answers are submitted, indicating absence), but repeated unsatisfactory (-) anwer sets will affect the instructor's grade adjustment at the end of the term (see above).
Your exam question answers will be graded based on correctness, reasoning, and clarity. Your issue papers will be graded on the quality and clarity of the content described above as well as writing quality, specifically the following criteria.
- Format - Your papers must follow the format of the issue paper examples that will be handed out in class.
- Organization - Your papers must follow a clear, logical progression of thought.
- Wording - Words must be carefully chosen to clearly communicate meaning. If you are "reaching" for the right word, use a dictionary to confirm that it means what you think it means.
- Grammar - The papers must conform to the conventional rules of English grammar.
- Spelling and Capitalization - Spellings must conform to American English and capitalization must follow standard conventions.
- Punctuation - Punctuation must conform to the conventional rules of English punctuation.
- Citation Style - Sources of information must be cited and every citation must conform to the MLA in-text citation style. (NB: Citations in the textbook, handouts, and other resources may not follow MLA style, so check the MLA website, above, for instructions and examples.)
- Works Cited - All source cited must be included in a list that conforms to the MLA works cited style. (NB: References in the textbook, handouts, and other resources may not follow MLA style, so check the MLA website, above, for instructions and examples.)
The expectation is that writing for this course will be at or above the standards for passing WR 121.
Points will be assigned to coursework as shown above and each student's final course grade will be based on the percentage of maximum possible points earned, according to the following table.
93% - 100% A 90% - 92% A- 87% - 89% B+ 83% - 86% B 80% - 82% B- 77% - 79% C+ 73% - 76% C 70% - 72% C- 67% - 69% D+ 63% - 66% D 60% - 62% D- 0% - 59% F
A penalty of the equivalent of one letter grade will be applied for each day an issue paper is late. A penalty of one level (+ / ✓ / - / missing) will be applied for each day a set of Discussion Question answers is late.
Questions about Grading
Any questions or concerns about the grading of specific work must be brought to the attention of the Instructor within one week of when the graded work is returned.
Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.
Honesty is a moral responsibility of every professional and therefore of anyone preparing for a profession. It is the expectation of the instructor that any work you submit for this course is the product of your own abilities and efforts with respect to that work. You are free to discuss the Discussion Questions and your issue papers with anyone, including other members of the class, and to consult any other honorable sources, but the answers and the papers you turn in must represent your own thoughts and be in your own words, except in those parts of the work where you credit the original sources by proper citation. You are also subject to OSU's CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT, especially section 4.2, which defines and prohibits specific classes of academic misconduct. Any evidence that any of these expectations have not been met will prompt an inquiry, and if the findings support the conclusion that they have not, an academic misconduct report will be filed.
Subject to change, so check this regularly.
Week 1: 7 - 11 January
|Wednesday||Ch.1 intro - 1.1||Introduction to Engineering Ethics||Ch. 1 Questions 1-9|
|Friday||1.2 - 1.3||Responsibility
||Ch. 1 Questions 10-15|
Week 2: 14 - 18 January
|Monday||Ch. 2 intro - 2.1||Resolving Ethical Dilemmas||Ch. 2 Questions 1-4|
|Micro issue paper assignment
Making Moral Choices
Ch. 2 Questions 5-8
|Friday||2.3||Engineering Codes of Ethics||Ch. 2 Questions 9-17|
Week 3: 21 - 25 January
|Monday||Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - no class|
|Wednesday||Applying Engineering Codes of Ethics||In-class exercise|
Ch. 3 intro and
The Natue of Value
|The Nature of Value
|Ch. 3 Questions 1-9|
Week 4: 28 January - 1 February
|Monday||3.1||Utilitarianism||Ch. 3 Questions 10-13|
|Wednesday||3.2||Rights Ethics, Duty Ethics||Ch. 3 Questions 14-18|
|Friday||3.3-3.4.3||Virtue Ethics, Self-Realization Ethics||Ch. 3 Questions 19-24|
Week 5: 4 - 8 February
||Applied Religious Ethics, Buddhist and Christian||Micro issue paper
Ch. 3 Questions 25-27 (answers optional for extra attendance credit)
|Wednesday||Ethics of Work Design: Good Work||In-class exercise|
|Friday||Ch. 4 intro - 4.1||Engineering As Social Experimentation
Macro issue paper assignment
|Ch. 4 Questions 1-10|
Week 6: 11 - 15 February
|Wednesday||Ch. 5 intro - 5.2||Increasing Safety and Reducing Risk||Ch. 5 Questions 1-12|
|Friday||5.3||"Normal" Accidents||Ch. 5 Questions 13-16|
Week 7: 18 - 22 February
|Monday||Ch. 6 intro - 6.2||The Engineer's Responsibilities||Ch. 6 Questions 1-8|
|Wednesday||6.2 - 6.3||The Engineer's Responsibilities and Rights||Ch. 6 Questions 9-10|
|Friday||6.3||The Engineer's Rights||In-class exercise|
Week 8: 25 February - 1 March
|Monday||6.4 - 6.5||Whistleblowing
||Ch. 6 Questions 11-14|
|Wednesday||Ch. 7 intro - 7.2||Honesty: Truthfulness and Trustworthiness, Ethical Engineering Research||Ch. 7 Questions 1-11|
|Friday||7.3 - 7.4||Engineers As Consultants, Expert Witnesses, and Advisers||Ch. 7 Questions 12-15|
Week 9: 4 - 8 March
|Monday||Ch. 8||Environmental Ethics
||Ch. 8 Questions 1-9|
|Wednesday||Ch. 9 intro, 9.1||Global Issues: Humanitarian Engineering||Ch. 9 Questions 1-4|
|Friday||9.3||Global Issues: Weapons Engineering||Ch. 9 Question 5|
Week 10: 11 - 15 March
Ch. 10 intro, 10.1
|Macro issue paper
Ch. 10 Questions 1-7 (answers optional for extra attendance credit)
|Wednesday||Reading to be provided||A Lesson From the Titanic||Ch. 10 Questions 8-10|
|Friday||Technology, the Welfare of the Public, and the Good Life||Ch. 10 Questions 11-12|
|Final Exam: noon - 1:50 PM in BAT 144
(all subject to change)
- IE 380 Materials
- Codes of Ethics
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
- American Nuclear Society American (ANS)
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
- Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE)
- National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) - see pp. 40-41
- World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)
- Oregon State University
- Engineering Ethics Websites
Last update: 20 December 2018