Honors College Thesis


The Effect of an Ethics Course on Bioengineering Students' Understanding of Social Justice Issues in the Context of Engineering Public Deposited

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  • The nature of engineering work requires that ethical considerations are taken into account while making decisions surrounding topics such as technology, equal distribution of cost benefits, and consumer risk. In order for engineers to make ethical decisions in their careers, it is helpful if their engineering education provided them with a solid understanding of ethics. Social Ethics in Engineering (BIOE 420) is a required course within the bioengineering curriculum at Oregon State University that covers ethical considerations within the context of engineering, emphasizing connections between engineering practice and social justice. In order to understand the effects of such a course on bioengineering students’ understanding of ethics in engineering, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty students that had taken the course. The interviews were transcribed and then analyzed for common themes. Seven themes were found, a few of which include students’ feelings regarding course importance, ideas surrounding moral and ethical development, and personal connection with the course. Student responses revealed that most students found the course as a valuable and unique part of their engineering education and that some students have already begun to implement parts of the course into their every day lives.
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