Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Ohio State University
ECE 7080 Ethics and Professionalism
Instructor: Prof. Kevin Passino
Audience: Graduate students in the Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Offering: 1 credit, satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) graded, Spring semesters
Prerequisites: None, besides graduate standing in OSU ECE.
Text book (required): Martin M.W., Schinzinger R., Ethics
in Engineering, 4th Ed., McGraw-Hill, NY, 2005 (NOT earlier editions). Purchase the textbook, read it all this semester, and keep it for life.
Reading List: See the reading list of topics relevant to the area of professionalism and engineering eithics. If not now, later in life you should read more about social justice, law as it pertains to ethics, and the history of engineering.
- The OSU College of Engineering student organization,"Engineers for Community Service," (ECOS).
- Humanitarian Engineering course (open to graduate students, email me if interested)
Web Resources: See the following web sites for more materials on engineering ethics and professionalism:
- The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science: http://onlineethics.org/
- National Institute for Engineering Ethics: http://www.niee.org/
- Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at IIT: http://ethics.iit.edu/
- Association for Practical and Professional Ethics at IU: http://www.indiana.edu/~appe/
- IEEE document of professional aspects of employment, click here.
- IEEE document on education/professionalism, click here.
- UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, click here.
- IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology
- Texas A&M Univ. engineering ethics: http://ethics.tamu.edu/
- NSPE Board of Ethical Review: http://www.niee.org/pdd.cfm?pt=NIEE&doc=EthicsCases
- National Center for Research and Professional Ethics, Univ. Illinois: http://ethicscenter.csl.illinois.edu/
Requirements: You are expected to:
- Read the required material.
- Provide satisfactory solutions to all 5 homework assignments
- Satisfactorily complete the final project (see below).
- Satisfactorily complete the final exam (see below)
Meeting all these expectations will result in an S grade. Not meeting even any one of of these requirements will result in a grade of U.
- Homework Assignments: All 5 homework assigments are listed below. The assignments and their due dates are listed (in each case, the due date/time is the start of class time on the indicated day). Low quality solutions will not be accepted--you will be asked to redo/improve those and resubmit for regrading--this is a "mastery course" you are required to do well in everything in order to pass. All solutions to homework problems must be typed and submitted electronically to Carmen.
- Final Project: You should aim at keeping the response to the final project less than 10 typed pages, but it will certainly be more than 5 pages. Solutions to the final project must be typed and submitted electronically to Carmen. Click here for the final project. It is due the last day of class at the start of class (submitted electronically by that time).
- Final exam: An e-exam to be taken over the internet and to be announced near the end of the semester (there is no in-class final examination)
- Academic Misconduct Will Not Be Tolerated: Cheating in an Ethics Class is Clearly Unethical!:
- It is assumed that before you take this class you already understand the meaning of "academic misconduct." If you have any doubts, or need clarification (e.g., since you are from another country), academic misconduct is discussed in class, and OSU policy on student conduct is here: http://studentaffairs.osu.edu/csc/
- Policy on Working on Assignments, Final Project, and Final Exam Together: You may talk to anyone about the solutions to the homework problems and final project, but you must turn in what is ENTIRELY your own typed solutions to all homework asssignments (e.g., no sharing of solutions between students of any type is acceptable, including sharing electronic solutions). You are to work entirely on your own on the Final Project. The final exam is to be taken entirely on your own with no discussions with anyone.
- If you are caught, and there is clear evidence (e.g, written or witnessed by another student), your case will be taken to the OSU Committee on Academic Misconduct (they judge and assign punishment).
Teaching Assistant: TBD
Lecture Topics, Slides, and Homework Assignments (by Lecture #, not Week #):
- Electrical and computer engineering as professions
- Overview of course objectives
2. Professional Standards for Graduate Students
- Strategies for success
3. Ethical Dilemmas, Choices, and Codes of Ethics (Homework #1 assigned)
- Ethical decision-making strategies
- Critique codes of ethics
- Case studies: NSPE, IEEE
4. Moral Frameworks for Engineering Ethics (Homework #1 due)
- Moral frameworks, connections to engineering
- Personal commitments and professional life
- Case study
5. Engineering as Social Experimentation (Homework #2 assigned)
- Engineering as social experimentation
- Involving the public in the design process
- Case studies for engineering as social experimentation
6. Safety and Risk (Homework #2 due)
- Assessment of safety and risk
- Design considerations, uncertainty
- Risk-benefit analysis, safe-exit and fail safe systems
7. Case Studies for the Design Process
- Case studies in impact of safety/risk on design
8. Engineer's Responsibilities and Rights (Homework #3 assigned)
- Employee/employer rights and responsibilities
- Confidentiality and conflict of interest
- Case studies on whistle-blowing
9. Case Studies for the Workplace (Homework #3 due)
- Case studies on professional behavior/policies on the job
(e.g., conflict of interest, unprofessional behavior, gender/minority discrimination issues, sexual harassment)
- Academic integrity
- Consulting engineers
- Expert witnesses and advisors
11. Research and Publication Ethics
- Research integrity, honesty in scholarship (giving credit to others as it is due)
- Publication ethics, review, authorship (roles, credit), plagiarism
12. Environmental Ethics (Homework #4 assigned)
- Engineering, ecology, economics
- Sustainable development
- Ethical frameworks
- Case studies in impact of engineering on the environment
13. Global Issues (Homework #4 due) (Homework #5 assigned)
- Multinational corporations, globalization of engineering
- Technology transfer, appropriate technology
- Computer ethics, weapons development
14. Cautious Optimism and Moral Leadership (Homework #5 due)
- Cautious optimism as a technology development attitude
- Moral leadership in engineering