Experiences in integrating ethics for engineers in MSc programmes
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Engineering ethics is an important part of education since it helps students to deal with issues they can face in their profession. A project was started at Chalmers University of Technology in 2013 with the aim to improve integration of ethics in the Master’s programmes in the educational area: “electrical and computer science engineering, software engineering, and industrial engineering and management”. In this paper, experiences are shared from this project. The aim is to support and stimulate to similar activities at other universities. The objectives are to describe:
• the change process for integrating ethics into Master’s programmes at Chalmers,
• results of this work, such as amount and type of ethics integrated into the programmes, and differences in content and intended depth of learning,
• challenges to accomplish a successful integration of ethics into the programmes.
There has been a successful integration of ethics in the Masters’ programmes, and all of the 13 programs now include some ethics. The most important driver has been that the project has been assigned by the dean of education who can put some pressure on the programme directors. Another important reason for a successful result is that the project has continued over several years as long as there has been a need of improvements. Support has been offered to the programme directors and teachers, and there has been a regular follow up of the progress and encouragement of programmes directors. A main challenge has been that many of the programme directors and teachers are unsure about what ethics is all about and how to include it in education. Thus, it has been a good idea to have short term goals that were not that demanding. It has been important that the actual changes are done by the programme directors and teachers themselves, and that no one else has been telling them how to do.