Teaching engineering ethics to first-year college students

Andrew S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


One of the methods used at Penn State to teach engineering students about ethics is a one-credit First-Year Seminar entitled "How Good Engineers Solve Tough Problems." Students meet in class once a week to understand ethical frameworks, develop ethical problem-solving skills, and to better understand the professional responsibilities of engineers. Emphasis is on the ubiquity of ethical problems in professional engineering. A learning objective is the development of moral imagination, similar to the development of technical imagination in engineering design courses. Making sound arguments is also addressed in the process of reasoning through cases, and critiquing other's arguments. Over the course of the semester, students solve five engineering ethics cases. Each week, a student team of four people is responsible for reading the assigned section of the text, developing a summary, and leading the class discussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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