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Using Case Studies to Teach Engineering Design and Ethics. Larry G. Richards and Michael E. Gorman University of Virginia ASEE 2004: Session 3441. Case Studies. What are Cases? a narrative account of a situation, problem, or decision usually derived from actual experience

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using case studies to teach engineering design and ethics

Using Case Studies to Teach Engineering Design and Ethics

Larry G. Richards

and Michael E. Gorman

University of Virginia

ASEE 2004: Session 3441

case studies
Case Studies
  • What are Cases?
    • a narrative account of a situation, problem, or decision
    • usually derived from actual experience
    • reflect real-world concerns
case studies3
Case Studies
  • And why should we use them?
    • To develop higher level thinking skills
      • beyond rote learning
      • require analysis, judgment, decisions
      • perspective taking, role playing
      • independent thought, critical thinking
case studies4
Case Studies
  • And why should we use them?
    • To expose students to realistic situations
      • open ended problems
      • multiple possible answers
      • key decision points
      • tradeoffs involved in practice
approaches to developing knowledge and skills shapiro
Approaches to developing knowledge and skills (Shapiro)
  • Lectures and readings
    • “acquiring knowledge and becoming informed about techniques”
  • Exercises and problem sets
    • “the initial tools for exploring the applications and limitations of techniques”
approaches to developing knowledge and skills shapiro6
Approaches to developing knowledge and skills (Shapiro)
  • Case method
    • “development of philosophies, approaches and skills”
    • Extend the learning experience beyond the classroom and laboratory.
university of virginia cases
University of Virginia Cases
  • Darden case library
  • Invention and design
  • Environmental design
  • Ethics
  • Systems engineering
  • Integrated Product Development
focus on ethics
Focus on Ethics
  • Moral reasoning
  • Mental Models
  • Moral Imagination
mental models
Mental models
  • Mental representations, internal images or verbal codings of experience, cognitive frameworks
  • Set the parameters through which experience is filtered and organized
  • “May limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting”
  • “inhibit consideration of alternatives”
limited perspectives
Limited perspectives
  • Standard solutions
  • Accepted ways of doing things
  • Compartmentalized expertise
  • Corporate culture
moral imagination
Moral imagination
  • “Moral imagination involves recognizing the role, scheme, or mental model that one is adopting, disengaging from it, and evaluating alternative perspectives and courses of action.”
  • Gorman, Mehalik, Werhane, p.2
real life cases
Real life cases
  • “…students need to see multiple examples of how ethical dilemmas are handled in the real world”
  • “They also need to see the kind of detailed information available to actual decision makers.”
  • Gorman, Mehalik, Werhane, p.1
case study approach
Case study approach
  • “Cases constitute a kind of virtual apprenticeship, in which students can apply ethical principles to actual situations and discuss the outcomes with each other and with a faculty mentor.”
  • Gorman, Mehalik, Werhane, p.2
some ethical issues in engineering practice
Some Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice
  • Best design standards
  • Patent infringement
  • Product liability
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Appropriate technology
  • Engineering disasters
the westinghouse example
The Westinghouse Example
  • John Kamauff (graduate student)
  • Landel and Richards (faculty advisors)
  • Funded by National Consortium for Technology in Business (ASEE and AACSB)
westinghouse case
Westinghouse Case
  • Introduce new philosophy
  • Integrated product development
  • Mandated by management
  • Required organizational changes within the company
  • How to build trust among all the parties
westinghouse case17
Westinghouse Case
  • Traditional functional areas
    • Marketing
    • Manufacturing
    • Design Engineering
    • Systems design and development
    • Quality assurance
  • Different roles; different perspectives
  • Now must work on multidisciplinary teams.
designtex inc
DesignTex, Inc
  • Matt Mehalik (graduate student)
  • Mike Gorman, Andrea Larson, Patricia Werhane (faculty)
  • Based on the work of William McDonough
  • Design of environmentally friendly fabrics.
  • Former Dean of Architecture at UVA
  • Major proponent of sustainable design
  • Two principles:
    • Waste equals food
    • Cradle to cradle design
  • Environmentally intelligent
details of the designtex case
Details of the DesignTex case
  • Design and manufacture of textiles for commercial interiors
  • Steelcase office furniture
  • Portfolio collection
  • Rohner Textil
  • Suppliers (dyes, materials)
designtex case
DesignTex case
  • Sue Lyons (VP of DesignTex)
  • William McDonough (architect/designer)
  • Michael Braungart (chemist)
  • Albin Kalin (Rohner Textil)
issues involved in the case
Issues involved in the case
  • Sustainability
  • Aesthetics
  • Standards
  • Industrial ecology
  • Production processes
  • Costs
  • Tradeoffs
changing jobs
Changing jobs
  • Mini-cases developed by B. Garrey and M. Gorman, 2002.
  • An engineer moving from one company to another
  • A group of engineers moving from one company to another.
changing jobs24
Changing jobs
  • Initial description seems to lead to a fairly clear cut decision.
  • But as details are added, the situation becomes murkier.
  • At the end of the discussion, Mr. Garrey gives students:
    • Tips on how to change jobs without getting sued.
    • Tips on working for your new employer
“ method is the best pedagogy to teach design, environmental engineering, managerial, and engineering ethics”
  • Gorman, Mehalik, Werhane (2000)
books about cases
Books about Cases
  • Aldridge, M.D. and Swamidass, P.M. (1996) Cross-Functional Management of Technology: Cases and Readings Richard D. Irwin, Chicago.
  • Bruner, Robert F. (2003) Socrates’ Muse: Reflections on Effective Case Discussion Leadership, McGraw-Hill/Irwin
  • Christensen, C. R. and Hansen, A.J. (1987) Teaching and the Case Method Harvard Business School, Boston.
  • Gorman, M. E., Mehalik, M. M., and Werhane, P. H. (2000) Ethical and Environmental Challenges to Engineering Prentice Hall
articles on engineering cases
Articles on Engineering Cases
  • Petroski, Henry (1991). Human Error and the Case for Case Histories in Design. Journal of Engineering Design Vol. 2, No. 1, pgs.81-88.
  • Raju, P.K. and Sankar, C.S. (1999) Teaching Real – World Issues through Case Studies. Journal of Engineering Education October 1999. Pgs 501 – 508.
  • Richards, L.G. Gorman, M.E., Scherer, W.T. and Landel, R.D. (1995) Promoting Active Learning with Cases and Instructional Modules Journal of Engineering Education Vol. 84, No. 4, pgs. 375 -381
resources on engineering ethics
Resources on Engineering Ethics
  • Harris, C.E., Pritchard, M.S., and Rabins, M.J. (1999) Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Lynch, W.T. (1997) “Teaching Engineering Ethics in the United States” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, (Winter), 27-36.
  • Self, D.J. and Ellison, E.M. (1998) “Teaching Engineering Ethics: Assessment of its Effects on Moral Reasoning Skills” Journal of Engineering Education 87(1), 29-34.
  • Werhane, P. (1999) Moral Imagination and Managerial Decision-Making, New York : Oxford University Press.
additional resources
Additional resources
  • Evan, William M. and Manion, Mark (2002) Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, N.J. Chapter 8 provides “Twelve Exemplary Case Studies of Technological Disasters”, coupled with Chapter 9 these could be used as cases.
  • Fitzgerald, Neil “Teaching with Cases” ASEE Prism, March 1995, Vol. 4, # 7, 16-20.
  • Petroski, Henry (1994) Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering, Cambridge University Press.