The Engineering Ethics Toolkit is a suite of interactive resourcesguidance and teaching materials that enables educators to easily introduce ethics into the education of every engineer.

We’re always pleased to see the #EngineeringEthicsToolkit featured in news articles, blogs, podcasts etc., and we’ll be keeping track of those mentions here.

Ethics workshop

Using the Engineering Ethics Toolkit in your teaching

Engineering ethics in the spotlight

Seen us in the news? Let us know!

Want to feature us? Get in touch for press kits, interviews etc.

 

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Do you want to champion the teaching of ethics within engineering?
Do you want to help shape the future of the Engineering Ethics Toolkit?
Do you need support with integrating ethics into your own engineering teaching?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you should join our new Ethics Ambassadors community.

Ethics Ambassadors was launched in March 2023 in order to expand and develop the work and recommendations of the Engineering Ethics Advisory Group, whose expertise and advocacy was instrumental during the creation and development of the Engineering Ethics Toolkit.

The aims of the Ethics Ambassadors community are:

An initial meeting of Ethics Ambassadors was held in June 2023 and we are currently in the process of nominating and voting for key roles within the community.

You can learn more about Ethics Ambassadors here.

To join Ethics Ambassadors, please fill out this Membership request form.

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The Engineering Ethics Toolkit is a suite of interactive resources, guidance and teaching materials that enables educators to easily introduce ethics into the education of every engineer. We would like to ensure that all universities with Engineering departments are aware of the toolkit and able to make use of it.

To this end, we’ve produced a pack of resources that can be distributed to relevant departments and staff members such as Engineering department heads, staff and administrators, as well as Vice-Chancellors, Deans, and anyone else who may find our resource useful in teaching or curriculum development.

We would be very grateful if you could share these resources, and encourage you to explore and use them in your teaching.

Our pack of resources to help you present and promote the Engineering Ethics Toolkit contains the following files, and can be downloaded individually below, or as a pack from here.

Information on the toolkit (PDF)
01. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – key talking points
02. Media release July 2023 – Engineering Professors’ Council
03. Engineering Ethics – overview

Sample resources (PDF)
04. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Advice and Guidance – Why integrate ethics in engineering
05. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Case study – Developing an internet constellation
06. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Case enhancement – Developing an internet constellation

Promotional display posters (PDF)
07. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – poster
08. Ethics Explorer – poster
09. Ethics Ambassadors – poster

Promotional images (JPG)
10. Engineering Ethics Toolkit Logo
11. Ethics Explorer front page
12. Students at TEDI-London
13. Students in discussion

PowerPoint slides (pptx)
14. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Overview
15. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Talking points
16. Engineering Ethics Toolkit – Ethics Ambassadors

You can download the entire pack from here.

If you have any questions or comments about this resource, please contact w.attwell@epc.ac.uk.

 

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Media release

15th June 2023

The Engineering Professors’ Council today announced the launch of innovative new content for their Engineering Ethics Toolkit, an online resource that helps educators to build ethics directly into their engineering teaching.  

Created by the Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Ethics Toolkit addresses the issue that relatively few university engineering courses explicitly embed ethics teaching throughout the curriculum.   

The ability to tell right from wrong – and better from worse – is as vital to an engineer as maths or design skills, yet many UK higher education institutions fall short in effectively developing these abilities in future engineering professionals. The Engineering Ethics Toolkit solves this problem with a suite of interactive resources, guidance and teaching materials that aim to engage educators, and enable them to introduce ethics into the education and training of every engineer, allowing the UK to position itself as a leader in promoting engineering as a force to improve the world for people and the planet.  

As well as offering advice to educators who want to teach ethics but are not sure where to begin, the Toolkit features ready-to-use classroom resources that are rooted in educational best practice and align with the Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP) criteria, which are the conditions for courses to receive professional accreditation.   

These case studies and other teaching materials highlight current and emerging real-world issues and can be used and adapted by anyone. The latest additions to the Engineering Ethics Toolkit include the interactive Ethics Explorer, which helps educators understand, plan for and implement ethics learning, and 30 new academic guidance articles, case studies and comprehensive classroom activities created and developed by academic and industry professionals.  

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Education and Diversity at the Royal Academy of Engineering, comments: “There has never been a more crucial time to ensure that the next generation of engineers have the skills and training to critically address ethical questions around issues such as artificial intelligence and sustainability. It is vital for the future of our profession, as well as the future of our society and planet, that every engineer develops the ability to make responsible and informed decisions regarding the ethics of their work.”  

Raffaella Ocone OBE FREng FRSE, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, remarks: “As engineers and as educators we want to improve the world. When we teach ethics within our engineering degrees, we teach the ability to determine what is wrong and what is right, what is a mistake and what is an improvement. The Engineering Ethics Toolkit makes it easy to include ethics in our teaching. It is a treasure trove for educators.”  

The Engineering Ethics Toolkit is a free to use suite of resources, available at epc.ac.uk/resources/toolkit/ethics-toolkit   

To hear about forthcoming Engineering Ethics Toolkit webinars and workshops, join the EPC’s Ethics Ambassadors community by emailing press@epc.ac.uk 

Ends

Notes to editors

Contact

Contact: Johnny Rich
Email: press@epc.ac.uk
Phone: 0781 111 4292
Website: epc.ac.uk/resources/toolkit/ethics-toolkit
Twitter: @EngProfCouncil
#EngineeringEthicsToolkit
#EngineeringEthics

 

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The Ethics Explorer is an interactive tool that was built to help engineering educators navigate the landscape of engineering ethics education. It is the newest resource in the Engineering Ethics Toolkit.

Whether you’re an ethics veteran or brand new to teaching ethics within engineering, the Ethics Explorer allows you to find your own path through what can sometimes seem like a wilderness.

Choose a path depending on what you want to do. Improve your own ethics learning? Plan for ethics learning? Integrate or assess an ethics activity? Each path leads you through content such as learning outcomes, graduate attributes, and accreditation criteria, while also pointing you to supporting activities and resources linked to the content.

The Ethics Explorer replaces the static engineering ethics curriculum map published in 2015, although there is also a printable version available in PDF form, that summarises content from the interactive Explorer.

The content in the Ethics Explorer is subject to changes in context and should be customised to suit the various forms that
an engineering degree can take. It is intended as a non-prescriptive resource – as a way of suggesting to educators how ethics might comprise a distinct theme in an engineering undergraduate degree. This version of the Ethics Explorer is focused on the UK higher education context, but it may be adapted for use in other countries.

The Ethics Explorer is a free to use resource, accessible to all. Start exploring here.

Have you used the Ethics Explorer? Tell us about your experience – what you loved, what is missing, and what could be improved. Fill out our feedback form, or email w.attwell@epc.ac.uk.

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Here you’ll find a list of our events related to the Engineering Ethics Toolkit.

You can also search here for meetings of the Ethics Advisory Group, and Ethics Ambassadors.

 

The Engineering Ethics Toolkit is a new resource for engineering educators to help them integrate ethics content into their teaching. It has been produced by the UK’s Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) for the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) as part of the profession’s ongoing work to embed ethical practice into the culture of engineering. 3 guidance articles and 12 case studies designed for classroom use have been developed in a first phase of work. Explore these resources on both the EPC and the RAEng websites.

 

The Engineering Ethics Toolkit Advisory Group seeks contributors to add to and develop these resources who can:

 

Write additional guidance articles

The Ethics Toolkit Advisory group seeks contributors to write guidance articles on various topics related to engineering ethics education, shown below. These articles are meant to be overviews that a reader with no prior knowledge could refer to in order to develop a baseline understanding and learn where to look for additional information. They should be approximately 500-1000 words and reference relevant resources, especially existing resources in the Ethics Toolkit. They may be written by a single author or by a team of authors. Single authors may be paired with other authors who have volunteered to write on the same topic. See the existing guidance articles for examples of style, tone, and approach. Use Harvard referencing. 

You may propose a topic to write about, but the Ethics Advisory Group will prioritise contributions of articles on the following topics:

  1. What is Ethics?
  2. Why Integrate Ethics in Engineering?
  3. How to Integrate Ethics into a Module/Course?
  4. Tackling Tough Topics in Discussion OR How to Lead a Discussion
  5. How Ethics Links to Other Competencies and Skills
  6. Getting Comfortable with Open-Ended Problems/Questions Related to Ethics
  7. Learning Taxonomies and Ethics Education

Unless otherwise stated, to ensure that everyone can use and adapt the Toolkit resources in a way that best fits their teaching or purpose, this work will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License. Under this licence users are free to share and adapt this material, under terms that they must give appropriate credit and attribution to the original material and indicate if any changes are made.

Create case enhancements that develop teaching materials for activities suggested in the case studies

Case enhancements are teaching materials and resources that help educators to employ the ethics case studies and lead the activities referenced within them. Enhancements provide crucial guidance for those who may be teaching ethics-related material for the first time, or who are looking for new and different ways to integrate ethics into their teaching. They may take the form of discussion prompts, debate or role play scripts, technical content related to the ethical dilemma, worksheets, slides, or other similar materials. Enhancements may be written by a single author or by a team of authors. Single authors may be paired with other authors who have volunteered to contribute to the same case.

The Ethics Advisory Group seeks at least one case enhancement per published case study, outlined below. You may propose additional or different enhancements according to your background and expertise. You may want to familiarise yourself with the relevant cases in order to determine where you can best contribute. 

  1. Business Growth Models. Enhancement desired: Activity: In a group, split into two sides with one side defending a profit-driven business and the other defending a non-profit driven business. 
  2. Facial Recognition. Enhancement desired: Prompts to facilitate discussion activities.
  3. Choosing a Career in Climate Change Geoengineering. Enhancement desired: Activity: map the arguments of the three professors. Whose perspective might be the most persuasive and why?
  4. Glass Safety. Enhancement desired: Activity: Debate whether or not the engineer has an ethical or professional responsibility to warn relevant parties.
  5. Internet Constellation. Enhancement desired: Activity: Anatomy of an internet satellite – use the Anatomy of an AI case study as an example of a tether map, showing the inputs and outputs of a device. Create a tether map showing the anatomy of an internet satellite.
  6. Industrial Pollution from an Ageing Pipeline. Enhancement desired: Generate scripts for discussion prompts.
  7. Power to Food. Enhancement desired: Create a sample group project specification for developing an ethical assessment of the following activity with suggested marking/evaluation criteria. Activity: Identify different aspects of the production process where ethical concerns may arise, from production to delivery to consumption. Which ethical issues do you consider to be the most challenging to address?
  8. School Chatbot. Enhancement desired: Activity: Undertake stakeholder mapping to elicit value assumptions and motivations.
  9. Water Wars. Enhancement desired: Work up a script for the following activity. Activity: Role-play the council meeting, with students playing different characters representing different perspectives.
  10. Smart Homes for Older People. Enhancement desired: Create a sample data set for technical analysis.
  11. Installing a Smart Meter. Enhancement desired: Generate typical smart meter data so that students can analyse it.
  12. Solar for Oil. Enhancement desired: Produce example calculations in chemical and/or electrical engineering related to carbon offset and solar installations.

Unless otherwise stated, to ensure that everyone can use and adapt the Toolkit resources in a way that best fits their teaching or purpose, this work will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License. Under this licence users are free to share and adapt this material, under terms that they must give appropriate credit and attribution to the original material and indicate if any changes are made.

Develop and write new case studies

The Ethics Toolkit Advisory group seeks contributors to write new case studies on various topics related to engineering ethics. These case studies should be written in a similar format and style to the existing case studies in the Toolkit. The audience for these case studies is educators seeking to embed ethics within their engineering teaching. They may be written by a single author or jointly by a team of authors. Single authors may be paired with other authors who have volunteered to write on the same topic. Authors are encouraged to speak to the project manager for consultation and guidance during the writing process.

Case studies on any topics related to engineering ethics are welcome. Ideas for new cases have been suggested to the Advisory Group; you may select or adapt one of these shown below, or choose your own.

  1. Design / disposal of medical waste such as home Covid tests or masks, pill packaging, etc;
  2. Genetically engineering mosquitoes or other animals to reduce or eliminate their reproduction;
  3. Design / implantation of devices that control human health or biology, such as sleep/wake cycles, etc. (or another transhumanist topic);
  4. Balancing human safety in public spaces at night with dark sky or animal health initiatives;
  5. Transport issues (infrastructure, access, safety, etc.);
  6. Sustainable materials in construction (homegrown timber, supply chain, etc.)
  7. Materials sourcing and circularity;
  8. Artisanal or deep-sea mining and the connection to indigenous rights;
  9. Dealing with contracts or subcontracts with potential slave or forced labour;
  10. Creation and deployment of emotion detection systems;
  11. Issues related to competitive tendering or overseas procurement;
  12. Equity and impact of flood or erosion mitigation solutions;
  13. Responsibility for micro- and nano-plastics in the environment and human bodies.

Unless otherwise stated, to ensure that everyone can use and adapt the Toolkit resources in a way that best fits their teaching or purpose, this work will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License. Under this licence users are free to share and adapt this material, under terms that they must give appropriate credit and attribution to the original material and indicate if any changes are made.

In undertaking this work, contributors will become part of the growing community of educators who are helping to ensure that tomorrow’s engineering professionals have the grounding in ethics that they need to provide a just and sustainable future for us all. Contributors will be fully credited for their work on any relevant Toolkit materials, and will be acknowledged as authors should the resources be published in any form. Developing these resources will provide the chance to work with a dynamic, diverse and passionate group of people leading the way in expanding engineering ethics teaching resources, and may help in professional development, such as preparing for promotion or fellowship. If contributors are not compensated by their employers for time spent on this type of activity, a small honorarium is available to encourage participation. After a revision process these will be published as part of the Toolkit online.

If you are interested in contributing to our Engineering Ethics Toolkit, fill out this form by the 12th September 2022 and we will be in touch with additional details.

**Whilst this call has now closed, you can still submit guidance articles, case studies, case enhancements, blogs, and other resources to the Engineering Ethics Toolkit. Please see our Get involved page for details.**

 

Prof. Raffaella Ocone, Chair (r.ocone@hw.ac.uk)

Prof. Sarah Jayne Hitt, Project Manager (sarah.hitt@nmite.ac.uk)

Engineering Ethics Toolkit Advisory Group Members:

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EPC President Prof Mike Sutcliffe introduces an ambitious new initiative to ensure engineering education is a force for good: the EPC’s Engineering Ethics toolkit, produced in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Engineering can have significant impact on society and the environment, both positive and negative.  Harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society that works for everyone requires us to navigate complexity, uncertainty and challenging ethical issues.

Understanding ethical issues and behaving in an ethical manner underpins other behaviours such as inclusivity and sustainability, ensuring that individual practitioners, professions and organisations are globally responsible. To maximise positive impact these behaviours must become instinctive – golden threads running through everything that engineers think and do.

The EPC Board considered its own ethical responsibility – including representing our members’ views, supporting good practice and as an organisation – at its retreat in January 2020.  This led to the clear action for the EPC to promote engineering ethics more proactively and adopt clear ethical positions.  A key aspect of this is enabling the embedding of ethical best practice into the UK engineering higher education curriculum through creation of an ‘Engineering Ethics Toolkit’.

There is growing advocacy for bringing engineering ethics to the fore in engineering programmes – alongside technical skills – as we equip future engineers with the skills and mindset they need to succeed.  At the policy level, this is evident in three general areas:

  1. The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence and Commitment (UK-SPEC; 4th edition) and accreditation bodies identifying ethics as one of the core learning outcomes and competencies in accreditation documents;
  2. The inclusion of more descriptive competencies that expand on the understanding and practical application engineering ethics; and
  3. The Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes in engineering (AHEP, 4th edition) standards reflecting the importance of societal impact in engineering.

Today we are pleased to launch the first milestone in the development of the EPC’s Engineering Ethics toolkit – a range of case studies and supporting articles to help engineering educators integrate ethics content into their teaching.

This will allow engineering students to be able to identify ethical issues, exercise ethical thinking and use ethical judgement within their projects and coursework.

Producing this first phase of the toolkit has been a fabulous team effort – the high priority placed on creating this exemplified by remaining on track and producing a high-quality resource despite the challenges faced from Covid-19.  Everyone has done an amazing job.

This would not have been possible without the generosity and support of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Engineering Council with whom they are partnering.  As chair, Raffaella Ocone (Heriot-Watt) is doing a wonderful job of guiding us – getting us off to a flying start with her previous trailblazing work on embedding ethics into the curriculum. And Sarah Jayne Hitt (formerly NMiTE) is doing an absolutely fabulous job of keeping us focused, on track and producing high-quality resources informed by best practice.

This achievement is a wonderful example of how, as engineers, we work most effectively when we work together to design effective solutions – a team I enjoy working with and am proud to be a part of.

We hope you find these resources for embedding ethics into the curriculum useful.  Do let us know how you get on and keep an eye out as we continue to expand these resources into a more comprehensive toolkit for engineering educators.

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