IE 380, The Responsible Engineer

Winter Term 2020


Course Information

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

TTh 10:00-11:20 AM in Rogers Hall 440

Instructor: Dr. Ken Funk

E-mail: funkk@engr.orst.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays
11:30-11:55 AM in Rogers Hall 440

Thursdays 11:30-11:50 AM in Rogers Hall 440


12:00-1:00 PM in Covell Hall 208

or write for an appointment.

Teaching Assistant: Mr. Joshua Erkman

E-mail: erkmanj@oregonstate.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays
12:30-1:30 PM in BAT 050

or write for an appointment.

Required Text

Martin, M.W. and R. Schinzinger. Ethics in Engineering. 4th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005.

NOTE: This book was out of print for a time and IE 380 used a spiral-bound reprint version titled Martin & Schinziner's Ethics In Engineering Fourth Edition | For IE 380, The Reponsible Engineer. There are probably copies of the reprint version around OSU, so if you happen to get a copy from someone who took the course recently, the page numbers will be a little confusing. See this. One copy of the reprint version is available on 3-hour reserve in the OSU library.


Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Define and describe the fundamental terms and concepts of ethics and explain how they apply to the practice of engineering.
  2. 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.
  3. Clearly state your own personal ethical principles and apply them to ethical issues in engineering.
  4. Recognize an engineering ethical dilemma and apply a systematic process of moral reasoning to resolve it.
  5. Explain the advantages and limitations of engineering ethics codes and apply one to the resolution of an ethical dilemma.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Analyze relationships among science, technology, and society using critical perspectives or examples from historical, political, or economic disciplines.
  9. Analyze the role of science and technology in shaping diverse fields of study over time.
  10. Articulate in writing a critical perspective on issues involving science, technology, and society using evidence as support.

Course Activities

The course format is reading, lecture, and focused discussion. Readings, assigned in the Schedule, will come from the text and the instructor will provide Class 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.

Phone ringers must be turned off during class. Laptop and tablet computers may be used for note-taking and other class-related tasks, but not for surfing the web or sending or receiving email.

Class meetings will usually center around the class 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 class 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 (not often), the instructor will post them on this website in the Slides folder under Resources, but probably not much before class time. Always come prepared to listen carefully and take good notes.


Coursework

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 Class Discussion Question Answers
credit
 (see below)
Midterm Examination
100
 points
Final Examination
100

Micro issue Essay
40

Macro issue Essay
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 a hard copy of your answers to the Class 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). Class 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.

Class Discussion Questions

Caution: Class Discussion Questions are questions developed by the instructor specifically for IE 380 in-class discussions. They are not the same as the Discussion Questions in the textbook!

Answers to Class Discussion Questions should be complete and clear, but they need not be in grammatically perfect prose (bulleted lists or outlines are fine), 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 Class Discussion Questions,

Examinations

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.

Micro Issue Essay

You will write two issue essays, one addressing a "micro" engineering ethics issue, one that an individual engineer might (or did) face, the other addressing a "macro" engineering ethics issue. Your Micro Issue Essay must address the following points.

Issue Statement - Provide enough background for the reader to understand the issue (dilemma) the engineer involved faces. If this is a case drawn from the text or another source, you may quote the source, but properly indicate that you are quoting and cite the source. Be sure to state the issue clearly but concisely.

Moral Clarity - What moral or ethical principles do you believe apply to this issue? Justify your reference to these particular principles (i.e., why you have chosen to use them). Cite the sources from which you draw these principles or which you use to justify them. What principles are in conflict?

Conceptual Clarity - Clarify how these principles apply to the issue. For example, if you adopt the principle to hold paramount human welfare, what does "paramount" mean? Whose welfare is at stake here? What does "welfare" mean in this context?

Facts and Assumptions - What additional information is needed to make a reasoned decision on the issue? If this is a hypothetical issue for which there may be no additional information (like one of the cases in the text), state some reasonable assumputions, ones that do not themselves resolve the issue, and proceed with that information.

Options - What are the options open to the individual involved? Besides the obvious ones, use your creativity to come up with others, perhaps involving compromise, that could resolve the issue by reducing the level of conflict among principles or satisfying the most important principle(s).

Decision - Weigh and compare the options with respect to the above considerations (especially the ethical principles) and state a reasoned recommendation on what the individual should do to resolve this issue.

Your Micro Issue Essay should be between three and nine pages long, double-spaced, exclusive of references. Use MLA in-text citation style for citations, MLA works cited style for the Works Cited section.

Macro Issue Essay

Your Macro Issue Essay must address an issue concerning engineering technologiy, one falling within the the broader responsibilities of engineers, technology companies, governments, or society as a whole. Such macro issues might include whether off-shore oil drilling should be more tightly controlled or prohibited, the extent to which we should rely on nuclear power, if and how we should proceed to develop self-driving vehicles, and the pros and cons of social media. Your issue must be one on which you have not yet come to a final pro/con position. Your Macro Issue Essay must address the following points.

Issue Statement - Provide enough information for the reader to understand the issue we face. It should also be clear what the roles of engineers are in the issue and why it is important for an engineer to take a position on it. Be sure to state the issue clearly but concisely. CIte your sources.

Moral Clarity - What moral or ethical principles do you believe apply to this issue? Justify your reference to these particular principles (i.e., why you have chosen to use them). Cite the sources from which you draw these principles or which you use to justify them. What principles are in conflict?

Conceptual Clarity - Clarify how these principles apply to the issue. For example, if you adopt the principle to hold paramount human welfare, what does "paramount" mean? Whose welfare is at stake here? What does "welfare" mean in this context?

Facts and Assumptions - Research the issue to obtain the information needed to make a reasoned decision. Cite your sources. If information is unavailable make and state reasonable assumptions and proceed on those.

Options - What are our options to address this issue? Besides the obvious ones, use your creativity to come up with novel approaches that reduce the conflict among principles or satisfy the most important principle(s).

Decision - Weigh and compare the options with respect to the above considerations (especially the ethical principles) and state a reasoned recommendation on what you believe we should do to resolve this issue.

Your Macro Issue Essay should be between four and 12 pages long, double-spaced, exclusive of references. Use MLA in-text citation style for citations, MLA works cited style for the Works Cited section.

Grading

Each required Class 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 essays will be graded on the quality and clarity of the content described above as well as writing quality, specifically the following criteria.

Grading Scale

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

Late Work

A penalty of the equivalent of one letter grade will be applied for each day an issue essay is late. A penalty of one level (+ / ✓ / - / missing) will be applied for each day a set of Class 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.


Disabilities Information

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.


Academic Honesty

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 Class Discussion Questions and your issue essays with anyone, including other members of the class, and to consult any other honorable sources, but the answers and the essays 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.


Schedule

Subject to change, so check this often. Caution: Class Discussion Questions are questions developed by the instructor specifically for IE 380 in-class discussions. They are not the same as the Discussion Questions in the textbook!

Week 1

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 7 Jan
  Course introduction  
Thu 9 Jan
Ch.1
Introduction to Engineering Ethics and Responsibility
Ch. 1 Questions 1-9

Week 2

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 14 Jan
Ch. 2 intro -  2.2 Resolving Ethical Dilemmas Ch. 2 Questions 1-6
Thu 16 Jan

2.3
Micro issue essay requirements
Engineering Codes of Ethics

Ch. 2 Questions 7-12

Week 3

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 21 Jan
  Applying Engineering Codes of Ethics In-class exercise
Thu 23 Jan
2.3.4 (review)
Ch. 3 intro and
The Natue of Value
The Nature of Value
Moral Frameworks
Ch. 3 Questions 1-8

Week 4

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 28 Jan
3.1 - 3.2 Utilitarianism, Rights Ethics, Duty Ethics Ch. 3 Questions 9-17
Thu 30 Jan
3.3-3.4.3 Virtue Ethics, Self-Realization Ethics Ch. 3 Questions 18-23

Week 5

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 4 Feb
3.4.4
Religious Ethics: Buddhist and Christian Ethics Applied To the Design of Good Work
Micro Issue Essay
Ch. 3 Questions 24-26 (answers optional for extra attendance credit)
Thu 6 Feb
Ch. 4
Engineering As Social Experimentation
Macro issue  requirements
Ch. 4 Questions TBD

Week 6

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 11 Feb
  Midterm Examination  
Thu 13 Feb
Ch. 5 intro - 5.3 Safety and Risk
Ch. 5 Questions TBD

Week 7

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 18 Feb
Ch. 6 intro - 6.2 The Engineer's Responsibilities Ch. 6 Questions TBD
Thu 20 Feb
6.2 - 6.3 The Engineer's Rights Ch. 6 Questions TBD

Week 8

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 25 Feb
6.4 - 6.5  Whistleblowing Ch. 6 Questions TBD
Thu 27 Feb
Ch. 7
Honesty: Truthfulness and Trustworthiness Ch. 7 Questions TBD

Week 9

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 3 Mar
Ch. 8 Environmental Ethics
Ch. 8 Questions TBD
Thu 5 Mar
Ch. 9
Global Issues: Humanitarian Engineering Ch. 9 Questions TBD

Week 10

Meeting Reading Topic Work Due
Tue 10 Mar

Ch. 10 intro - 10.1 and a reading to be provided

A Lesson From the Titanic
Macro Issue Essay
Ch. 10 Questions TBD (answers optional for extra attendance credit)
Thu 12 Mar

Technology, the Welfare of the Public, and the Good Life Ch. 10 Questions TBD

Finals Week:

Mon 16 Mar
  Final Exam 9:30-11:20 at location TBA


 

Resources


Last update: 9 January 2019