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Microethics & Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists & Engineers: Developing & Assessing Instructional Models Heather E. Canary, University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Microethics & Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists & Engineers: Developing & Assessing Instructional Models Heather E. Canary, University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Microethics & Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists & Engineers: Developing & Assessing Instructional Models Heather E. Canary, University of Utah Joseph R. Herkert, Arizona State University Karin Ellison, Arizona State University Jameson M. Wetmore, Arizona State University

2 Acknowledgements  National Science Foundation:  NSF/EESE #  ASU Project Team:  Joseph Herkert, PI  Heather Canary, Co-PI (U of Utah)  Karin Ellison, Co-PI  Jameson Wetmore, Co-PI  JoAnn Williams  Ira Bennett  Brad Allenby  Jonathan Posner  Joan McGregor  Dave Guston  Consultants:  Deborah Johnson, Virginia  Rachelle Hollander, NAE  Nick Steneck, Michigan  Advisory Council:  Kristen Kulinowski, Rice  Dean Nieusma, RPI  Sarah Pfatteicher, Wisconsin  Karl Stephan, Texas State

3 Project Overview  Meet the increasing need to integrate instruction of microethical issues with instruction of macroethical issues:  “Microethics” = moral dilemmas & issues confronting individual researchers or practitioners  “Macroethics” = moral dilemmas & issues collectively confronting the scientific enterprise or engineering profession  5 Project Goals:  Formulate educational outcomes for the integration of micro- and macroethics in graduate science and engineering education  Develop and pilot different models for teaching micro- and macroethics to graduate students in science and engineering  Assess the comparative effectiveness of the instructional models  Facilitate adoption of the instructional models and assessment methods at other academic institutions  Provide for widespread dissemination of course materials and assessment results in the engineering, science, and ethics education communities.

4 Instructional Models  Stand-alone course (Science Policy for Scientists and Engineers-1 credit)  Technical course with embedded ethics content (Fundamentals of Biological Design)  Online/Classroom hybrid (Introduction to RCR in the Life Sciences – 1 credit)  Lab group engagement

5 Participants  Fall Spring 2011 (Total N = 81)  Embedded Model (N = 21)  Stand-Alone Model (N = 14)  Hybrid Model (N = 20)  Lab Model (N = 2; excluded from analysis)  Control Group (N = 26)  Student Status:  Undergraduates 5  Transitional 5  Masters20  PhD50  Mean Age =  Males = 55; Females = 26

6 Participants (cont’d.)  Academic Program:  Biodesign21  Engineering30  Chem/BioChem 9  Biology12  Other 5  Missing 4  Previous Ethics Instruction: Yes = 36  Previous S. R. Instruction: Yes = 22  First Language:  English 54  Chinese10  Indian Language 8  Spanish 2  Korean 2  Other 5  Ethnicity/Race:  White41  Asian28  Hispanic 6  African American 3  Other 3

7 Procedures  Nonequivalent Control-Group Quasi-Experiment  Survey measures of 3 desired learning outcomes:  Increased knowledge of relevant standards  Increased ethical sensitivity  Improved ethical reasoning  Engineering & Sciences Issues Test (ESIT) – short  Study-Specific Measures:  Knowledge of Relevant Standards (T/F/don’t know)  Ethical Sensitivity (1-5 scale)  Student-Instructor Interaction:  Out-of-classroom communication  Classroom climate (supportive/defensive)  Instructor verbal aggressiveness  Instructor verbal assertiveness  Frequency of informal ethics conversations

8 N2 Scores by Study Group Group 1 = Embedded; Group 2 = Stand-Alone; Group 3 = Hybrid; Group 5 = Control

9 Outcomes by Study Group Measure Embedded Stand-Alone Hybrid Control Mean Mean Mean Mean ____________________________________________________ Pretest N2-Score Posttest N2-Score 8.70* 8.76* 10.14* 5.18 Pretest Knowledge * Posttest Knowledge 12.90* 12.36* 14.40* Pretest Ethical 3.44* Sensitivity Posttest Ethical 3.48* 3.51* 3.60* 3.21 Sensitivity ____________________________________________________ Note: * indicates significantly higher than Control Group at p <.05 level.

10 Outcomes by Language Group Measure Native English Non-Native English Mean Mean N = 54 N = 27 ____________________________________________________ Pretest N2-Score* Posttest N2-Score* Pretest Knowledge* Posttest Knowledge* Pretest Ethical Sensitivity* Posttest Ethical Sensitivity* ____________________________________________________ Note: * indicates significant group differences at the p <.05 level.

11 Outcomes by Sex Group Measure Male Female N = 55N = 26 Mean Mean ______________________________________________ Pretest N2-Score Posttest N2-Score* Pretest Knowledge Posttest Knowledge* Pretest Ethical Sensitivity Posttest Ethical Sensitivity ______________________________________________ Note: * indicates significant difference at the p <.05 level.

12 Student-Instructor Interaction  Classroom dynamics similar across instructional models:  1 group difference in interaction variables – verbal aggressiveness higher in Embedded than in Hybrid  All other interaction variables statistically the same across instructional groups  Out-of-class communication associations:  With posttest ethical sensitivity (r = -.35, p <,01)  With posttest ethics discussions with lab directors (r =.34, p <.05)  Frequency of ethics conversations increased:  Significantly with peers  Not significantly with lab directors/PIs

13 Implications  All models were effective in increasing knowledge, sensitivity, and moral reasoning  Knowledge gains highest in Hybrid Group: Consistent with previous research showing combining instructional modes more effective than either mode on its own  Language differences point to caution when using survey instruments with non-native English speaking samples  Sex differences might be related to language differences  Out-of-classroom communication points to importance of informal conversations and spillover effect of mentoring relationships  Students benefitted from flexible, interdisciplinary team of dedicated educators.  Successful integrative ethics education depends on commitment & cooperation of academic departments.


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