What are the top ethical issues in engineering today?

What are the top ethical issues in engineering today, and how can you incorporate these in your teaching?

In our Engineering Ethics workshop at the 2023 SEFI Conference at TU Dublin, we asked participants what they felt were the top ethical issues in engineering today. This word cloud captured their responses, and the results reveal concerns ranging from AI and sustainability to business and policy and beyond.

When incorporating ethics into a lesson or module, educators might want to find teaching resources that address a topic that’s recently been in the news or something of particular relevance to a group of students or to a project brief. But how can this be done efficiently when there are now so many teaching materials available in our Toolkits?

Fortunately, sifting through available resources in the Ethics Toolkit is now easier than ever, with the release of the new Toolkit search function. The Toolkit search allows users to:

  • Choose from a list of suggested keyword tags;
  • Search by multiple keyword tags or their own search terms;
  • Refine the search results by one of more of the following filters: engineering discipline; educational level; type of content.

It even pulls resources from across different toolkits, if so desired.

Not only will this help you discover and find materials that are right for your educational context, but the search function could even become a teaching tool in itself. For instance, you could poll students with the same question we used in the SEFI Workshop, asking them what they think the top ethical issues are in engineering today, and then design (or co-design) a lesson or activity based on their responses and supported by resources in the Toolkit. If you don’t find resources for a particular issue, that could be a great learning opportunity to0 – why might these topics not be addressed? Of course, you can always create a resource that fills a gap and submit it to be a part of the Toolkit: we would love to see a student-developed case study or activity.

Let us know how you have used the Toolkit search function, and if there are ways we could improve it. Happy searching!

This post is also available here.

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