The University of Texas at Austin

Ethics

PRIME

Welcome to the PRiME Learning site.  The educational modules listed below have been created by a team of faculty and other researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. The goal of these modules is to develop an awareness in Engineering students of the social and human impact of engineering design, investigation, and innovation. This awareness is fundamental to developing a mature sense of professional responsibility, especially the responsibility to “hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public” (NSPE Code of Ethics).  The lessons in each module first present situations that require careful analysis and then provide analytical tools and strategies for clarifying and resolving professional and ethical challenges. 

Your instructor may assign or discuss one, several, or all of the exercises or stages in a lesson. We hope that the interactive lessons contained in these modules intrigue and challenge you to learn more about professional responsibility and, ultimately, to become a more responsible and more ethical engineer.

 

Introduction to Professional Ethics
Engineering is a recognized and respected profession. As professionals, engineers have responsibilities to the public, particularly for protecting public safety. In the first lesson of this module students will investigate a disaster where many lives were lost when a series of dams failed.

Credibility of Sources
Not all sources of information are credible. In the first lesson of this module students will develop a process for evaluating web sites.  In the second lesson of this module students will investigate what data should and should not be reported.

Ethical Leadership
What kind of leader are you and who benefits from your leadership? This module takes a look at the ethical dimension of leaders and leadership.

Ethical Interpersonal Communication
Most people would agree that particular skills are involved in interpersonal communication, but these skills are generally not associated with ethics. Often, the point of improving theses skills is understood to be to increase effectiveness. This module is meant to reveal the need for interpersonal skills and also to show that these skills have, inherently, an ethical basis.

Ownership of Information
Just because you can easily copy information does not mean that you have the right to use it. In the first lesson of this module students will investigate issues of copyright when downloading music. In the second lesson of this module students will investigate a situation of a student accused of plagiarism.