Board 269: Engineering Ethics through High-Impact Game-Based Ethical Interventions: Design and Playful Assessment

Daniel D. Burkey, Scott Streiner, Kevin D. Dahm, Richard Tyler Cimino, Jennifer Pascal

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Ethics education has been recognized as increasingly important to engineering over the past two decades, although disagreement exists concerning how ethics can and should be taught in the classroom. With the support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program, a collaboration of investigators from the University of Connecticut, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Pittsburgh, and Rowan University are conducting a mixed-methods project investigating how game-based or playful learning with strongly situated components can influence first-year engineering students' ethical knowledge, awareness, and decision making. We have conducted preliminary analyses of first-year students' ethical reasoning and knowledge using the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT-2), Engineering Ethics Reasoning Instrument (EERI), and concept map assessment to characterize where students “are at” when they come to college, the results of which can be found in past ASEE publications. Additionally, we have developed a suite of ethics-driven classroom games that have been implemented and evaluated across three universities, engaging over 400 first-year engineering students. Now in its third year, we are modifying and (re)designing two of the game-based ethics interventions to (1) more accurately align with the ethical dilemmas in the EERI, (2) allow for more flexibility in modality of how the games are distributed to faculty and students, and (3) provide more variety in terms of the contexts of ethical dilemmas as well as types of dilemmas. As part of the continued development of the game-based ethical interventions, we are piloting a new assessment tool specific for playful learning in engineering ethics and aimed at measuring students ethical reasoning and thought process after they have played the game(s). The past year has provided insight into the potential limitations of the existing methods for measuring changes in ethical reasoning in students, as well as compared changes between first year and senior students. The last year has highlighted the situated or contextual nature of much of the ethical decision making that students do and incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods. Further results from this investigation will provide the engineering education community with a set of impactful and research-based playful learning pedagogy and assessment that will help students confront social and ethical dilemmas in their professional lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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