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Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 625–640 | Cite as

Using the Chernobyl Incident to Teach Engineering Ethics

  • William R. Wilson
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper discusses using the Chernobyl Incident as a case study in engineering ethics instruction. Groups of students are asked to take on the role of a faction involved in the Chernobyl disaster and to defend their decisions in a mock debate. The results of student surveys and the Engineering and Science Issues Test indicate that the approach is very popular with students and has a positive impact on moral reasoning. The approach incorporates technical, communication and teamwork skills and has many of the features suggested by recent literature.

Keywords

Engineering ethics Ethics education Role-play Constructive controversy Debate Chernobyl 

Abbreviations

DIT-2

Defining issues test version 2

ESIT

Engineering and science issues test

ABET

Accrediting board for engineering and technology

RBMK

Reaktor Bolshoy Moshchnosti Kanalniy

NSPE

National society of professional engineers

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank Jason Borenstein and Matt Drake—co-authors of the ESIT—for their assistance in its use.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Muskingum UniversityNew ConcordUSA

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