Engineering Ethics and Contemporary Issues
C. H. Harris et al., “Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases,” 5th Edition, Cengage Learning.
Specific Course Information:
2021-2022 Catalog Data: This one (1) credit course is required of all Electrical and Computer Engineering students. No specific prior classes or prerequisites are assumed. The course is an introductory exposition of ethics and its principles in the engineering profession, and discussion of contemporary issues that stem from the impact of high technology on our daily lives. Nowadays, engineered systems are ubiquitous in almost all realms of our activity and therefore it is of paramount importance to be cognizant of how design and use of such systems may bring about profound ethical dilemmas and consequences.
Specific Goals for the Course:
Outcomes of Instruction: By the end of this course the student will be able to
- Understand the moral and ethical challenges that they will face in the engineering profession.
- Understand the consequences of decisions that stem from design, business, and career choices.
- Better introspection into the impact of technology on society.
- Have written and oral communication and presentation skills.
Brief list of topics to be covered:
- Fundamentals of ethics - Personal vs. professional ethics
- Ethical issues faced by engineering professionals
- Ethics and law
- Doing things right: ingenuity, diligence and responsibility - Integrity in design, development, and research domains
- Protection of human subjects
- Data management and intellectual property
- Technology and digital revolution
- Data, information, and knowledge
- Your “digital DNA” and its footprints
- Cybertrust and cybersecurity
- Government, private sector, academe: data collection, management, and fusion
- Social, legal, and ethical impacts of ubiquitous technologies (e.g., on our rights to privacy).
- Outsourcing and the 24/7 “knowledge factory” --- following the sun
- (Electronic) Globalization
- High technologies: connecting people and places: accessibility, social impacts, political impacts
- Our role and place in the global technological realm
Topical areas will be supported by selected case studies (e.g., Challenger space shuttle explosion).
Relationship to Student Outcomes
ECE 311 contributes directly to the following specific electrical and computer engineering student outcomes of the ECE department:
2. An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
3. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
4. An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.