From nanosystems to ethical eco-systems: Designing a workshop for graduate researchers on self-powered wearable health devices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In early spring of 2015, an engineering faculty member approached the Director of the Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education and asked for a four-hour ethics workshop for Penn State University graduate students who were involved with the National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST). The faculty member explained that the training should be completed before the end of the same semester. This paper reports the process through which an interdisciplinary team designed an ethics workshop for graduate students. It also discusses the strategies used by the design team to overcome multiple constraints. The workshop consists of three components: a pre-assignment, a two-hour presentation and discussion, and a brief survey after the meeting. The design objectives for the workshop were: (1) Increasing participants' awareness of the sociotechnical systems within which their research exists and the fact that achieving the goals of ASSIST requires synergy from different components within the systems. (2) Helping participants to recognize that a variety of ethical issues - related to research integrity, broader impacts, and embedded value choices - arise from distinct actors and connections in the system, and to improve their moral perception. (3) Introducing the participants to resources and frameworks to support them as they engage in ethical reflection and reasoning. The design team was confronted with, and successfully overcame, multiple constraints: developing an ethics workshop in a short timeframe; providing a learning experience relevant to students whose research field is unfamiliar to most of the team members; and adapting to the busy schedules of graduate students. The post-workshop survey showed that some of our objectives, especially assisting students' development of a broad, systemic view of ethics related to their own research, were successfully met. The survey also indicated areas for improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509023172
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016
Event2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: May 13 2016May 14 2016

Publication series

Name2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016

Other

Other2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016
CountryCanada
CityVancouver
Period5/13/165/14/16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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  • Cite this

    Tang, X., Miller, S. C., & Litzinger, T. A. (2016). From nanosystems to ethical eco-systems: Designing a workshop for graduate researchers on self-powered wearable health devices. In 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016 [7560053] (2016 IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, ETHICS 2016). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ETHICS.2016.7560053