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Teaching Ethics


published on September 15, 2020

Emily York, Ahmad Salman

Privacy in a Connected World
Integrating Ethical Reasoning into an Applied Science Curriculum Through Holistic Problem Solving

In this paper, we present an approach to collaborative multi-disciplinary teaching as a method of integrating ethical reasoning into an applied science curriculum. Bringing together two faculty—one from computer engineering and one from science, technology, and society—to co-teach a two-semester upper-level sequence on holistic problem solving focused on “privacy in a connected world,” we model ethical reasoning as a habit of mind. We argue that this practice of modeling through multi-disciplinary teaching demonstrates for students that ethical reasoning is an intrinsic part of addressing complex sociotechnical problems. Through such modeling, we guide students toward developing ethical reasoning as a habit of mind that is relevant and important in their technical work. Drawing on analysis of student work, we show the evolution of two student groups across two semesters as they learn how to address and integrate ethics into their analysis of sociotechnical problems and solutions.

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