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Applied ethics in the engineering, health, business, and law professions : a comparison
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by B Barry, Matthew OhlandMatthew Ohland
Background: Applied ethics plays a critical role in engineering, health, business, and law. Applied ethics is currently a required component of the pre-practice education for these professions, yet the literature suggests that challenges remain in how we define, instruct, and assess professions-based ethics education. Purpose: Based on the on going debate associated with the instruction and assessment of applied engineering ethics, an exploratory investigation was performed to determine what could be learned by looking across professions. Scope/Method: Ethics, as an educational topic, can be very broad in scope. This study was limited to literature at the intersection of ethics terminology, historical development, instruction, and assessment within engineering, health, business, and law. Many references associated with each profession and the input of profession-specific content experts informed the literature survey. Conclusions: Ethics within the engineering, health, business, and law professions have historically developed in isolation. Even case studies, which the engineering profession seems to have adopted from law, are framed differently within engineering. There are common lines of debate related to instructional methods, curricular methods, and instructor qualifications, but no profession has resolved these debates. A common trend in applied ethics research is a focus on assessment of student learning, rather than evaluation of instructional methods and/or curriculum incorporation methods. Assessment tools have been developed and applied widely for many years in several of the health care sub-disciplines, business and law. An engineering-specific applied-ethics assessment tool has recently been developed, but has yet to see extensive application.