American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy


published on December 31, 2019

Mara Harrell

Developing Engineering Students’ Moral Reasoning Skills Using Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning has become an increasingly popular instructional method for a variety of disciplines at all levels. Many studies and meta-analyses of these studies have shown the efficacy of this method for developing knowledge and skills. I adopted this method for teaching Engineering Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University, which has as its main course objectives the development of moral reasoning skills, as well as collaboration and communication skills, with special attention given to ethical dilemmas that may arise in the normal course of an engineer’s professional career. In the most recent iteration of the course, I used the Engineering and Science Issues Test as a pretest and posttest to test the development of my students’ moral reasoning skills over the course of the semester. Based on the results of these tests, I argue that the students in my Engineering Ethics course did in fact significantly develop their moral reasoning skills.