Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Ohio State University
ECE 3080 / 7080 Ethics in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Instructor: Prof. Kevin Passino (email me if you need an appointment)
Content: Engineering ethics (professionalism, codes of ethics, moral frameworks, engineering as social experimentation, safety/risk, workplace, honesty, environmental, global) via a theory/case-study approach with a special focus on cases in electrical and computer engineering, volunteerism/humanitarian engineering, and social justice.
3080/7080: ECE 3080 is the course number for undergraduates and ECE 7080 is the course number for graduate students. The two courses meet simultaneously, mixing undergraduates and graduate students. ECE 7080 has two more lectures that will be viewed on-line, and one more homework assignment, than ECE 3080. These are labeled below. The final project is the same for both undergraduates and graduate students.
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. (Use this book, and the book by Harris et al. for lectures.)
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, for instance, social justice, law as it pertains to ethics, and the history of electrical and computer engineering.
Extra-Curricular Opportunities: The OSU College of Engineering student organization,"Engineers for Community Service," (ECOS) or groups in the Humanitarian Engineering Center.
Web Resources: See the following web sites for more materials on engineering ethics and professionalism:
- The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
- National Institute for Engineering Ethics
- Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions
- Association for Practical and Professional Ethics
- IEEE document of professional aspects of employment
- IEEE document on education/professionalism
- UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology
- Texas A&M Univ. engineering ethics
- NSPE Board of Ethical Review
- National Center for Research and Professional Ethics
You are expected to:
- Attendance: Attend every class (one excused absence is
allowed but the request for this must be made via
email to Prof. Passino, passino.1[at]osu.edu (of course, replace "[at]" with "@").
- Read the required material.
- Provide solutions to all 5 homework assignments (ECE 3080) or 6 assignments (ECE 7080)
- Satisfactorily complete the final project (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. This is a required ECE class and you are required to get an S in it in order to graduate.
- Homework Assignments: All 5 homework assigments (ECE 3080) or 6 assignments (ECE 7080) 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: It is highly recommended that you form your design team and start on the project in the first few weeks of class, ideally the first week. It is your responsibility to find team members (3080 people with 3080 people, and 7080 people with 7080 people only), and each team must have between 2 and 4 members (no more, no less). 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 to see the details for this year's project: Final Project
- 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 Lecture 11, and you can also see the OSU policy on student conduct
- No cheating on attendance sheets is allowed (if someone asks you to, tell them no)
- Policy on Working on Assignments, Final Project, and Final Exam Together: You may talk to anyone about the solutions to the homework problems, 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). I think you would be surprised at how easy it is for the TA to catch cheating on assignments, in spite of the size of the class. For the final project you may work on a team and what you turn in must be written/typed ENTIRELY only by the team members.
- If you are caught, and there is clear evidence (e.g, written, witnessed by another student, or as found by the TA), your case will be taken to the OSU Committee on Academic Misconduct (they judge and assign any punishment, not Prof. Passino).
Teaching Assistant: The teaching assistant (TA) will take attendance and grade all assignments (all questions about grading are to be directed to him). The TA is:
- Veronica Badescu firstname.lastname@example.org, TA Office hours: By appointment via Email to the TA
Lecture Topics, Slides, and Homework Assignments (by Lecture #, not Week #):
1. Introduction (lecture slides)[lecture 1 video]
- Electrical and computer engineering as professions
- Overview of course objectives
- ECE 7080 only: View this lecture video that is based on these slides.
2. Ethical Dilemmas, Choices, and Codes of Ethics (Homework #1 assigned) (lecture slides)[lecture 2 video]
- Ethical decision-making strategies
- Critique codes of ethics
- Case studies: NSPE, IEEE
3. Moral Frameworks for Engineering Ethics (Homework #1 due) (lecture slides)
- Moral frameworks, connections to engineering
- Personal commitments and professional life
- Case study: OSU College of Engineering student organization,"Engineers for Community Service," (ECOS)
4. Engineering as Social Experimentation (Homework #2 assigned) (lecture slides)
- Engineering as social experimentation
- Involving the public in the design process
- Case studies for engineering as social experimentation
5. Safety and Risk (Homework #2 due) (lecture slides)
- Assessment of safety and risk
- Design considerations, uncertainty
- Risk-benefit analysis, safe-exit and fail safe systems
6.-8. Case Studies for the Design Process (lecture slides)
- Case studies in impact of safety/risk on design
9. Engineer's Responsibilities and Rights (Homework #3 assigned) (lecture slides)
- Employee/employer rights and responsibilities
- Confidentiality and conflict of interest
- Case studies on whistle-blowing
10. Case Studies for the Workplace (Homework #3 due) (lecture slides)
- Case studies on professional behavior/policies on the job
(e.g., conflict of interest, unprofessional behavior, gender/minority discrimination issues, sexual harassment)
11. Honesty (lecture slides)
- Research integrity
- Consulting engineers
- Expert witnesses and advisors
- ECE 7080 only: View this lecture that is based on these slides. Homework Grad: Also, ECE 7080 students do this homework, and turn it in by Lecture 12.
12. Environmental Ethics (Homework #4 assigned) (lecture slides)
- 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) (lecture slides)
- Multinational corporations, globalization of engineering
- Technology transfer, appropriate technology
- Computer ethics, weapons development
14. Cautious Optimism and Moral Leadership (Homework #5 due) (lecture slides)
- Cautious optimism as a technology development attitude
- Moral leadership in engineering
A recent case:
GM ignition switch recall