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Educational Resources to Increase Ethics

Educational Resources to Increase Ethical Awareness for Scientists and Engineers

John P. Perhonis, Program Officer
National Science Foundation

John L. Fodor, Executive Director
Educational Media Resources, Inc.

P. Aarne Vesilind, R.L. Rooke Professor of Engineering
Bucknell University

by: John P. Perhonis
National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has been making awards in ethics education for more than 20 years through its Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science and Technology Program in the Directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. The Ethics and Value Studies component of this program funds research on ethical and value issues that arise in the practice of science in its social context. This link also provides a profile of current NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate awards that have ethics components.

Some NSF awards have trained faculty to incorporate ethics into their science and engineering classes; other awards have resulted in specific products that educate science and engineering students and professionals in ethical issues. This forum breakout session featured two very successful products that have resulted from NSF awards in ethics education. The first is a scenario-based video for classroom use aimed at providing the tools for starting conversations that lead to the development of ethical reasoning skills. The video uses academic integrity as a bridge to understanding professional ethics.

The second is a CD-ROM titled Understanding Computer Ethics produced by Educational Media Resources, a non-profit corporation specializing in educational programs. The CD serves as an effective stand-alone intervention for self-education, and as a pedagogical tool for classroom teaching. The video and CD can be used in both formal and informal educational settings. Both demonstrate the potential of media tools for scientists and engineers in professional development and teaching.


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