ECE 316 - Ethics and Engineering

Semesters Offered

TitleRubricSectionCRNTypeTimesDaysLocationInstructor
Ethics and EngineeringECE316E132661LCD1100 - 1220 T R  329 Gregory Hall Philip Hillmer
Ethics and EngineeringECE316E232662LCD1400 - 1520 T R  329 Gregory Hall Philip Hillmer
Ethics and EngineeringPHIL316E132663LCD1100 - 1220 T R  329 Gregory Hall Philip Hillmer
Ethics and EngineeringPHIL316E232664LCD1400 - 1520 T R  329 Gregory Hall Philip Hillmer

Official Description

Ethical issues in the practice of engineering: safety and liability, professional responsibility to clients and employers, whistle-blowing, codes of ethics, career choice, and legal obligations. Philosophical analysis of normative ethical theories. Case studies. Course Information: Same as PHIL 316. Credit is not given for both ECE 316 and CS 210. Junior standing is required. Prerequisite: RHET 105.

Prerequisites

Credit in RHET 105

Subject Area

Core Curriculum

Course Directors

Description

Ethical issues in the practice of engineering: safety and liability, professional responsibility to clients and employers, whistle-blowing, codes of ethics, career choice, legal obligations; case studies.

Notes

Same as: PHIL 316

Goals

  • To develop skills in moral reasoning
  • To learn to read critically
  • To improve writing skills in an engineering context
  • Topics

    • Ethical theories: utilitarianism, duty rights
    • The nature of engineering: experimentation, safety, risk, negligence
    • Professionalism, relationships with clients
    • Obligation to employers: loyalty, conflict of interest, confidentiality
    • Whistle-blowing, rights of engineers
    • Codes of ethics
    • Career choice
    • The profession and the law, regulations, licensing
    • Special topics: selections from computer ethics, environmental ethics, social impacts of technology

    Detailed Description and Outline

    Same as PHIL 316

    Course Objectives:

    • To read and think critically
    • To develop skills in moral reasoning
    • To improve writing skills in an engineering context
    • To understand multiple perspectives and to respect others of diverse persuasions
    • To study the fundamental structure of human personhood — what does it mean to be a human being — the grounding of moral action, and the development of moral character as the precondition of integral work in a profession and the essential foundation necessary for our life together in society

    Topics:

    • Ethical Theories: Teleological and Deontological Perspectives
    • The Nature of Engineering: Experimentation, Safety, Risk, and Liability
    • Attributes of a Profession, Relationship with Clients
    • Obligations to Employers: Loyalty, Conflict of interest, Confidentiality
    • Bringing Moral Issues to Light, Whistle-Blowing, Rights of Engineers
    • Codes of Ethics
    • Career Choice
    • The Profession and Legal Obligations, Licensing
    • Special Topics: Social Impacts of Technolgoy, Environmental Ethics, Stewardship and Sustainability

    Computer Usage

    Word processing to revise papers for resubmission

    Topical Prerequisites

    Freshman Composition (expository writing)

    Texts

    • Charles E. Harris, Michael S. Pritchard, Michael J. Rabins, Ray James, Elaine Englehardt, Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases (Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014)
    • A three-volume integrated set of course readings — Volume 1: Introduction, Volume 2: Normative Ethical Theories, and Volume 3: Windows into Applied Ethics — available in the textbook department at the Illini Union Bookstore
    • The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010) — available online through the University Library home page at www.library.illinois.edu. See the direct link through the course home page under “Important Tools” at http://publish.illinois.edu/ecephil316/.
    • William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1920) — available online through “Project Gutenberg.” See the link on the course home page under “Important Tools” at http://publish.illinois.edu/ecephil316/.

    ABET Category

    Humanities: 100%

    Course Goals

    1. To read and think critically

    2. To develop moral reasoning skills

    3. To improve writing skills in an engineering context

    4. To understand multiple perspectives and to respect others of diverse persuasions

    5. To explore the fundamental structure of human personhood, the philosophical grounding of moral action, and the development of moral character as the precondition of all integral performance in a profession.

    Instructional Objectives

    Article analysis papers

    • To identify an author's implicit assumptions and perspectives. (e)
    • To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an argument in an article. (e)
    • To write a clear, accurate, concise summary of the main points of an article. (g)

    Case analysis papers

    • To identify ethical issues such as professional responsibility, loyalty, conflict of interest, safety, and confidentiality in cases. (f)
    • To identify organizational, social, cultural, and legal constraints on possible solutions to ethical problems. (h)
    • To determine what additional facts might be relevant to making a wise decision. (e)
    • To draw careful distinctions between moral concepts, such as bribes and gifts. (e)
    • To propose solutions to ethical problems that honor all relevant moral considerations. (c)
    • To evaluate possible consequences of proposed actions according to both consequentialist and deontological tests. (a)
    • To express ideas clearly in writing. (g)

    Personal mission statement

    • To develop moral character and professional identity by relating personal goals to vocational aspirations. (f, h, i)

    In-class discussions

    • To collaborate in small groups to analyze a case, to formulate arguments for a debate, or to prepare for a role-playing exercise. (d)
    • To speak effectively. (g)

    Daily papers or journals

    • To develop the habit of reading regularly and critically. (i)

    Research paper

    • To use the library and electronic tools to find scholarly sources with information about a contemporary ethical issue. (i, j, k)
    • To formulate a thesis statement, to focus arguments in support of the thesis, and to address possible counter-arguments, clearly in writing. (g)
    • To present the main conclusions orally to other students. (g)
    • To provide constructive suggestions to drafts of other students' research papers in peer editing groups. (d, g)

    Fieldwork assignment (honors section)

    • To apply case analysis skills to a real ethical problem. (e)
    • To ask perceptive questions in interviews. (e)
    • To learn that ethical problems occur every day in professional life. (h)
    • To work in diverse groups to brainstorm about ethical issues and possible solutions. (d)
    • To organize and write a single paper with a case narrative and case analysis. (d, g)
    • To evaluate the performance of each member in the group: cooperation, timeliness, quality of contributions, quantity of contributions. (d)

    Last updated

    1/27/2016by Philip Hillmer