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Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Fall 2017-2018
* CBE 260 / EGR 260 (EM)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World

Jay B. Benziger

This course examines engineering as a profession and the responsibilities of that profession to society. Professional responsibilities of engineers are compared to those of lawyers, doctors, scientists and businessmen. Ethical theories are introduced as frameworks to guide decisions of technology implementation. Simple quantitative decision making concepts, including risk-benefit analysis, are introduced as a method for engineers to make ethically optimal choices.

Sample reading list:
David Noble, America by Design
Henry Petroski, To Engineer is Human
Samuel Florman, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering
Douglas Birsch and John H. Fielder, The Ford Pinto Case: a study in applied ethics, business...
D. Goodstein, On Fact and Fraud
L. Winner, Do Artifacts Have Politics
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Weekly readings of 4-5 articles. Weekly precepts will be student led. Three short papers (2-3 pages) based on precept material. In the second half of the term, students will carry out an independent analysis of a technology and examine the ethical issues facing engineers in implementing the technology (topics include energy, environmental, automotive and other technologies). Oral presentations and annotated bibliographies will be presented on these analyses.

Requirements/Grading:
Mid Term Exam - 20%
Papers - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Class/Precept Participation - 30%

Other information:
There will be movies relevant to technology development, e.g. "Who Killed the Electric Car", "The Day After Trinity", "China Syndrome". These will be available for viewing on Blackboard.

Reserved Seats:
Freshmen Only 5
Seniors Only 17

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20955 L01 10:00 am - 10:50 am T Th   Friend Center   008   Enrolled:53 Limit:55
20956 P01 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm T   Friend Center   204   Enrolled:11 Limit:15
20957 P02 7:30 pm - 8:20 pm M   Friend Center   109   Enrolled:13 Limit:22
20958 P03 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm W   Friend Center   306   Enrolled:17 Limit:17 Closed
23992 P04 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm T        Enrolled:12 Limit:15