COMET (4TU.CEE project)

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COMET - Comprehensive Ethics Teaching for Engineering and Design students

About the project
Comprehensive Ethics Teaching for Engineering and Design students (COMET) is a series of research projects funded by the 4TU.Centre for Engineering Education and taking place at the Ethics and Philosophy of Technology Section (TPM). The aim of the research series is to strenghten the ethics teaching at TU Delft in terms of educational methods, by relying on a solid theoretical foundation.

Comet 1.0 (2019 - 2021)

Researchers: Janna van Grunsven, Taylor Stone, Lavinia Marin
Supervisory board: Sabine Roeser, Neelke Doorn

The project was both retrospective and prospective: looking back at the successes and challenges from the last 20 years of integrating ethics into the curriculum at TU Delft, and identifying and proposing best practices for ethics education going forward. It developed new conceptualisations of moral sensitivity and ethical anticipation in engineering ethics education. It also created several pedagogical operationalisations of those concepts through exercises and teaching techniques.

Comet 2.0 (2021 - 2022)

Researchers: Janna van Grunsven, Lavinia Marin, Trijsje Franssen, Andrea Gammon

Project objectives. Developing an experiential ethics education theoretical framework and associated teaching methods and exercises.

The overall question our research aims to answer is: how do we develop experiential exercises that are genuinely effective, capable of making ethics come alive as a pervasive feature of the world of engineering? More specific questions include:

  • 1)    How do we do this in a manner that incorporates the relevant ethical tools and concepts future engineers must be familiar with (e.g. responsibility; fairness; inclusivity; empathy, etc.)?
  • 2)    How do we design experiential engineering ethics exercises that avoid being shallow and overly simplistic (a common criticism of many ‘case-based exercises’)?
  • 3)    What experiential approaches already offered at TU Delft (challenge-based learning, role-play exercises, stakeholder debates, theatre workshops, speculative design, film-making, etc.) can we build off?
  • 4)    What new experiential exercises should be included?

Project outcomes

Publications

  • van Grunsven, J., Stone, T., & Marin, L. (2023). Fostering responsible anticipation in engineering ethics education: how a multi-disciplinary enrichment of the responsible innovation framework can help. European Journal of Engineering Education, 1-16. [link to the published paper]
  • (forthcoming) Janna van Grunsven, Trijsje Franssen, Andrea Gammon and Lavinia Marin, "Tinkering with Technology: An exercise in inclusive experimental engineering ethics" in Building Inclusive Ethical Cultures in STEM, edited by Kelly Laas and Eric Brey, Springer: Dordrecht. [preprint version]
  • (2023) Janna van Grunsven, Lavinia Marin, Taylor Stone, Sabine Roeser & Neelke Doorn – “How Engineers Can Care from a Distance. Promoting Moral Sensitivity in Engineering Ethics Education”, in Thinking through Science and Technology. Philosophy, Religion, and Politics in an Engineered World. Edited by Glen Miller; Helena Mateus Jerónimo and Qin Zhu, Rowman & Littlefield International, ISBN 9781538176504 [preprint version]
  • (2022) Gammon, A. R., & Marin, L. Learning to Reframe Problems Through Moral Sensitivity and Critical Thinking in Environmental Ethics for Engineers. Teaching Ethics. https://doi.org/10.5840/tej20221013120 [full text here]
  • (2021) J. van Grunsven, L. Marin, T. Stone, S. Roeser and N. Doorn, "How to Teach Engineering Ethics? A Retrospective and Prospective Sketch of TU Delft’s Approach to Engineering Ethics Education," Advances in Engineering Education. [full article here]
  • (2021) Marin, L., van Grunsven, J. B., & Stone, T. W. Performing ethics of technology: Using improvisational performance-based techniques in engineering ethics education. In SEFI 49th Annual Conference (pp. 353-364).
  • (2020) Stone, T., Marin, L., & van Grunsven, J. “Before Responsible Innovation: Teaching Anticipation as an Intellectual Virtue for Engineers.” In Engaging Engineering Education: Proceedings of the 48th Annual Conference of the European Society or Engineering Education. Eds. J. van der Veen & H.-M. Järvinen, pp. 1401-1408. (ISBN: 978-2-87352-020-5) - Download the preprint or Download the edited volume
  • (2020) Marin, L. Ethical reflection or critical thinking? Overlapping competencies in engineering ethics education. Engaging Engineering Education: Book of Abstracts, 1354-1358.

Teaching materials