UCL Centre for Engineering Education


Engineering ethics education in the Swiss mountains

6 April 2022

Drs Inês Direito and Shannon Chance travelled to the mountains of Leysin, Switzerland to attend SEFI’s special interest group on Ethics.

sefi conference swiss

The two-day event helped Inês and Shannon connect with other engineering education research experts, including people they authored manuscripts with during the pandemic but had never physically met. 

The Spring School consisted of workshops on various topics associated with ethics, that involved the extensive use of breakout groups to explore:

•    Using emotions in engineering education to bridge the divide between micro and macro ethics in engineering education
•    Using digital games for the teaching and learning of ethics in STEM 
•    A canvas for ethical design of learning experiences with digital tools
•    Building bridges instead of filling gaps: an asset-based approach to reframing engineering ethics education
•    Masculinities and ethics in engineering education 

Generous coffee and meal breaks provided ample opportunity to galvanize professional and personal connections. 

Participants themselves posed questions for roundtable discussion on the second day:

•    How can we research emotions in engineering ethics education with assets-based approaches? And how can we leverage diverse students' emotional assets for improving engineering ethics education?
•    How can we build trust in student teams?
•    War and education: what are the ethical / moral responses by and within engineering education?
•    How should we work with STEM teachers to introduce of ethical components into their courses (especially when they consider they are not expert enough on the subject)?

The Spring School was conducted in hybrid mode, with active participation from online atendees and presenters. There were some growing pains as the hotel was out of practice hosting conferences, but the online attendees who stuck out the initial glitches in sound quality proved a very welcome addition to the workshops. Guest speakers joined from Mexico and Sweden, and community building events were included for physical and virtual participants alike.

Shannon stated; “The pandemic helped the global EER community come together in new and powerful ways. Let’s do all we can, via SEFI and CEE, to provide access to hybrid EER events moving forward. We all need to make sure we’re all reaching across the global resource divide, to build capacity for quality research and teaching practice in engineering education.” 

SEFI workshop
Ines at SEFI workshop