The second session examined the goals and objectives of instructional assessment for ethics education in classrooms and in programs or centers. While the first two sessions of the workshop separated educational goals and assessment goals, speakers in this session and in the discussion afterward emphasized the importance of integrating the two in practice.
The first speaker was Michael Davis, a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Profession and professor of philosophy at Illinois Institute of Technology. His work covers professional ethics, codes of ethics, and social contracts. His book Engineering Ethics (Ashgate, 2005) specifically addressed the professional ethics of the engineering field, and his educational research has focused on how to integrate ethics into technical courses. In his paper Davis begins by examining the meanings of “science and engineering ethics education” and “instructional assessment,” and then describes types of assessment, with a focus on generalized summative assessment. He concludes that to improve assessment across multiple classes, we need to define a set of instructional objectives for ethics education in engineering and science, as has already been accomplished for responsible conduct of research.
Heather Canary and Joseph Herkert gave the second talk. Canary is an assistant professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Utah. Her research has focused on graduate ethics education and she has infused ethical considerations into her teaching of communications. Herkert is the Lincoln Associate Professor of Ethics and Technology in the School of Letters and Sciences at Arizona State University. He is also part of the ASU Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. His teaching and research has focused on engineering ethics and the social implications of technology. Canary and Herkert have collaborated on two projects, which they describe in their paper and presentation, on integrating ethics into graduate science and engineering curriculum and on creating macroethics modules for online courses. Both projects included assessing the impact of their educational efforts. In their paper they describe the difficulties of assessing ethics education across programs or centers and call for the definition of a clear set of objectives for instructors. They also describe useful methods for conducting assessment across centers or programs. They conclude with guidance for instructors, arguing for instructors to take instructional design seriously; to consider what goals are most appropriate for each instructional effort; to use the content, context, and goals to determine the assessment plan; to make use of experts to fine-tune assessment methods; to also make use of informal assessments; and to make use of existing resources.