What is the role of ethics in accreditation documentation from a global view?

septembre 2022
Apprendre et Innover
Communications avec actes dans un congrès international
Auteurs : Sarah Junaid (Aston university), Alison Gwynne-Evans (), Helena Kovacs (), Johanna Lönngren (), Jose Fernando Jimenez Mejia (), Kenichi Natsume (), Madeline Polmear (), Yann Serreau (LINEACT), Corrinne Shaw (), Mircea Toboșaru ()
Conférence : 50th Annual Conference ofThe European Society for Engineering Education. Proceedings: Towards a new future in engineering education, new scenarios that European alliances of tech universities open up, 18 septembre 2022

Ethics in engineering has long been an important element in engineering programmes, however these subjects are often taught at a basic learning level with little attempt to connect to demonstrative learning outcomes. In recent years there has been a step change in the importance of ethics as an integral part of engineering programmes and is reflected in the text of accreditation documents. In this paper we expand our analysis from an earlier study, which focused on four European countries, to understand the role of ethics on a more global scale. We conducted a multi-country analysis on how and where ethics features in accreditation documents in twelve countries across five continents (Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France/Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA). We identified explicit or implicit references to ethics education, extracted verbs relating to learning outcomes, and compared definitions of key terms. A comparison to Bloom’s taxonomy showed considerably higher frequency of verbs linked to ethics teaching associated to lower levels of cognitive learning. Definitions of terms relating to the process of accreditation were often lacking in documents, highlighting a need for setting terms of reference. This study highlights differences in how ethics is described in accreditation documents. However, more needs to be done to explicitly highlight ethics as an integral part of engineering education. Relying on implicit links to ethics leaves the role of ethics open to interpretation, resulting in uneven emphasis in the translation of ethics within programme designs.