Aarhus University Seal

Working group: Teaching Ethics

Working Group: Teaching Ethics

The purpose of this information is to make it conceivable for possible working group members to figure out if they will be a good candidate for a working group.


Teaching Ethics in Engineering and Design programs


Engineering ethics has become a fundamental part of engineering education frameworks across the globe. However the subject is often taught with a broad brush with ill-defined learning outcomes. Normative Ethics pervades every aspect of engineering from DFMEA and cost/benefit/risk analysis to professional responsibility in social environments to ethical and inclusive design. Ethics within engineering and design therefore extend much deeper than debating catastrophic case studies but rather requires a more systematic approach to its delivery and assessment. A key challenge identified at a roundtable discussion held during the CDIO International Conference at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) July 2018, was the question of how to develop the citizen and not just the engineer.


The teaching of ethics through case studies and similar exercises do not necessarily reflect how someone would behave when faced with an ethical decision. Using the Outcomes Based Education approach; What are suitable learning outcomes (LOs) in engineering ethics? How can we assess these LOs? Are there validated teaching tools to deliver these LOs?


Sarah Junaid, Aston University, s.junaid@aston.ac.uk

The working group is also co-lead by Patric Granholm (Patric.granholm@turkiamk.fi), Nicoleta Maynard (n.maynard@curtin.edu.au), and Marc Mussaeus (m.mussaeus@fontys.nl).


Application for joining the working group on teaching ethics is done by filling out the application form and emailing it to the working group leader (Sarah Junaid, Aston University, s.junaid@aston.ac.uk)

Things to be done before the physical conference

The three objectives of the working group are outlined below with the subsequent action list for each objective to be completed before the Working Group meets on Monday 24 June 2019.

1. Identify an Engineering ethics education Framework: collating frameworks from literature, accrediting bodies and organizations such as Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE).

Action list:

i. Collect information on the methods and tools used at own institution in teaching ethics, bringing copies of the teaching materials.

ii. Collect information from own national accrediting bodies (educational bodies and professional engineering bodies) on learning objectives relating to ethics, professional responsibility and engineering in society

iii. Identify frameworks used/should be used by their national institutions

iv. Prepare a short 10-15 minute summary of i-iii to present at the meeting

2. CDIO Workshop development: construct a training workshop for educators to deliver Engineering and Design ethics within the CDIO framework. The workshop will be submitted to the CDIO council to approve with the aim to deliver at the next international CDIO conference 2020.

Action list:

i. Identify and collate assessment methods and tools used in own institution for assessing ethics, professional responsibility and engineering in society

ii. Identify any assessment requirements from own accrediting bodies (educational bodies and professional engineering bodies)

3. Outcomes and benchmarking: finalize a set of markers to evaluate effectiveness of the workshop training.

Action list:

i. Identify a set of markers to assess impact post-workshop. The markers will be discussed and finalized at the meeting.

An agenda and any supporting material for reading ahead of the meeting will be sent.

What is expected to be the output of the face-to-face meeting?

A report on current teaching practices a be compiled post-meeting.

An agreed workshop plan to be implemented for the following year.

How will the finalization of the state of the art paper be organized?

Roles and action points will be agreed at the conclusion of the meeting. This will include:

  • Working Group Report: The working title is “Teaching ethics in engineering and design programs within CDIO institutions: current practices and steps forward”. This will be a report compiling the meeting discussions, decisions and collation of data presented at the meeting
  • Teaching Ethics in Engineering and Design workshop: workshop description, presentation and planned activities

Roles will include writing, editing and reviewing the working group report or workshop plan.

Other relevant information

We would like to also highly encourage ethicists and those with similar backgrounds with experience in teaching ethics (whether in engineering or other disciplines) to also apply.