What is the role of ethics in accreditation guidelines for engineering programmes in Europe?

September 2021
Learning and Innovating
Communications avec actes dans un congrès international
Auteurs : Sarah Junaid (Senior Lecturer), Heleba Kovacs (), Daniela A. Martin (), Yann Serreau (LINEACT)
Conférence : SEFI 49th Annual Conference Blended Learning in Engineering Education: challenging, enlightening – and lasting?, 12 September 2021

/ The author list has been arranged in alphabetical order to reflect the equal contribution to the study design, data / The Washington Accord emphasises the role of ethical and societal considerations in the practice of engineering. Increasingly, national accrediting bodies are also expecting to see evidence in the delivery and assessment of ethics throughout engineering programmes. Nevertheless, there is still little known on how the process of evaluating ethics can best serve the function of accreditation ensuring quality assurance and quality improvement. The aim of this paper is to look at the top-down approach and analyse what role engineering ethics plays in national accreditation documentations in Europe. A multi-country analysis of how and where ethics appears in the systems of accreditation was carried out for the UK, Ireland, France, and Switzerland. The competencies, programme outcomes or learning outcomes were reviewed and explicit or implicit references to ethics education were identified. A quantitative and qualitative word analysis was carried out by extracting verbs and comparing verb definitions that were stated. Verbs were categorised under Doing actions, Thinking actions or both and compared to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. In all cases, ethics was explicitly mentioned however limited to 1 or 2 sections of the documents reviewed. The majority of statements linking to ethics were implicit, opening room for interpretation. A more conscious effort to engage engineering ethics in all aspects of engineering programmes as well as using higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy should be made where engineering ethics education is applied in practice. collection and analysis.