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    For example some specific examples from our students are following:

  • "I don’t want to be treated as a slave or robot.”
  • “These people get paid well to work.”
  • “Some work hard, while others surf the Internet?”
  • “As long as my boss doesn’t see me …”
  • “I minimize the browser …”
  • “Maybe someone opens an e-mail with a virus …"
  • “Maybe the person doesn’t have a PC at home?”
  • “Isn’t this similar to using the phone to call a friend?”
  • “Everybody does it!”

This exercise gives students practice framing moral arguments. Students will offer analogies based on the telephone, fax, or regular mail. Many offer examples from their own real-world experiences. Discussing the scenarios familiarizes students with the complexity of the issues, gives them practice in drawing analogies with their own experiences, and helps them to frame moral arguments.

Step 3: ethical decision-making tests provide insight and focus

The informal group discussion sets up the next stage since students already have raised many relevant issues in their comments. In the third step, several intuitive ethical tests are applied to two or three of the scenarios.

    Ethics tests

  • Reversibility: Would I think this a good choice if I were among those affected by it?
  • Publicity: Would I want this action published in the newspaper?
  • Harm: Does this action do less harm than a possible alternative?
  • Code Test: Does this action violate a code provision?
  • These tests help students to formulate supporting arguments that evaluate the scenarios. Often during the informal group discussion, these tests have already been employed either by the students themselves or informally by the instructor. In either case, it is important for students to realize that they are thinking already in ethical terms and that their ethical reflection is complex and sophisticated. It is also helpful to use local idioms for expressing these notions (especially in Puerto Rico). For example, the expression, "putting yourself in someone else's shoes" is a good way of presenting the reversibility test. This helps students realize that their parents, teachers, and religious leaders have passed on much of this "wisdom" to them.
  • It is very helpful to refer to students’ remarks as a means to explain the tests and help them realize that they already incorporate these notions in their decision-making.

Step 4: student groups re-evaluate scenarios with ethics tests

The next step allows students to apply the ethics tests. In groups of three or four, the students select two or three scenarios and re-evaluate them using the tests to sharpen their ethical arguments. The results are impressive: students quickly reach a consensus, back their positions with well-constructed ethical arguments, and emerge from the discussion with more confidence. They are, in short, ethically empowered. A debriefing session follows in which students summarize their group results with the rest of the class. This, in turn, generates more discussion.

Step 5: brief discussion of the importance of ethics

At this stage of the exercise a brief discussion on the importance of ethics helps synthesize the exercise. Issues that can be raised: (1) awareness that ethics affects our behavior, (2) incorporating ethical considerations early into the decision-making process helps to avoid ethical dilemmas later on, (3) we can learn from past problems and adjust future actions to avoid their repetition, (4) everybody practices ethics, not just the so-called expert, and (5) generally speaking, "Good ethics is good business." We conclude the exercise with the slogan, "Be Ethical, be Wise."

Step 6: some students want to learn more…where to go from here?

Past experience indicates that this exercise has had an impact on students. Frequently, they ask for more information about ethics. We have made the following suggestions: take a formal course in engineering or business ethics, watch for ethical issues in the media, study professional and corporate codes of conduct, and do not ignore ethics-related chapters/excerpts available in many textbooks. Finally, we encourage them to discuss related situations (scenarios or experiences) with friends.


  • The goal is to promote ethical-empowerment in our students. What has impressed us most by this exercise is the way in which it changes the student's perspective on ethics in the direction of empowerment. In fact, it promotes ethical-empowerment in several ways:
  • Students learn to recognize ethical problems in the real-world.
  • Students discover that they unconsciously employ ethical concepts and principles in their thinking. Thus, using the ethics tests helps students to recognize and practice the ethics skills they already possess.
  • It gives students practice (and confidence) in formulating ethical arguments.
  • It excites an interest in ethics that often leads to follow-up activities.
  • Instructors who are not experts in ethics can use this exercise and integrate it into their classes. In fact, by carefully selecting scenarios, instructors can help students to see how ethics is a natural and essential part of real-world engineering practice.

Appendix (annotated)

Additional information or annotations for instructors regarding the Student Module Appendix

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Ethics across the curriculum modules for eac toolkit workshops. OpenStax CNX. May 07, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10414/1.2
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