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This module reports on an outreach project carried out in conjunction with GERESE, Graduate Experience in Research Ethics for Science and Engineering (NSF 0629377). In this project, graduate student mentors developed and presented a workshop in research ethics targeted to pre-university students interested in careers in science and engineering. Students learn to see that a career can be good in two senses, a moral sense and a technical or discipline-based sense. This and other modules are also featured in an EAC Toolkit developed through the NSF-funded project, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF-SES-0551779.
Write your module for a student audience. To complete or edit the sections below erase the provided textual commentaries then add your own content using one or more of the following strategies: - Faculty Retreat in Research Ethics summarizes NSF grant GERESE activities. - RISE2BEST link provides links to other sources essential to research ethics: Online Ethics,ORI, and selected universities - Ethics CORE is a new NSF project to create a comprehensive online center to draw togethermaterials on research ethics like Online Ethics Center and U-Mass Scholarly Works/ESENCe project - Open Seminar course is online component of a special topics course in Reseach Ethics offered at UPRMin 2008.

Graduate experience in research ethics for science and engineering


Graduate Experience in Research Ethics for Science and Engineering
Elements of GERESE project leading to ethically empowered graduate students.

GERESE, an NSF grant, developed and tested a hybrid approach to research ethics, one that sought to identify and integrate synergies between stand-alone courses and an organized series of ethics across the curriculum interventions. Working with a conceptual framework in research ethics, where issues are derived from a double axiological axis, project investigators developed a workshop series in research ethics and also experimented with one-hour and three-hour courses. Faculty development workshops identified key issues in research ethics and carried out activities through which faculty members assessed different aspects of GERESE. A final retreat held August 2009, realized module and case development activities which were mapped onto the research ethics issues identified earlier. The result is an Ethics Incubator published in the Connexions module, "Faculty Retreat in Research Ethics--Modules and Issues. (See link above.)

A presentation: the gray world

Graduate students at UPRM, Erika Jaramilla and Morgan Echeverry, developed a presentation that introduces students to general ethical issues as well as more specific issues in research ethics. This presentation introduces ethics in the context of choosing a career; ethics consists of the proper exercise of choice in this and other situations. Student-produced video vignettes used to introduce key issues in research ethics have been seamlessly integrated into this presentation. Using clear images and forceful descriptions, this presentation introduces pre-university students to a range of ethical issues that arise in research in engineering and science. Several distinct pedagogical strategies are used to bring about a transition from black and white situations (which help students hone in on key concepts and distinctions) to the "grey world" where students are exposed to real world moral complexities.

The gray world--presentation in spanish

Gray world presentation for graduate students

Gray world presentation (seac nov 5, 2011)

Rcr concept table

Research ethics video vignettes

Students act out different scenarios in research ethics to provide black and white examples of different issues. Among those covered are plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, environmental responsibility, mentoring, and conflict of interest.


Video vignette fabrication

Video Vignette on Fabrication
Student fabricates data to make meet teacher's expectations.



Student falsifies data
Student falsifies data to make data spread sheet meet teacher's expectations.

Throwing out the trash

Driver throws out trash into parking lot
Car turns corner, window opens, and trash flies out in a graphic display of environmental irresponsibility.

Moving from the black and white to the gray

A layered case

Core scenario to Layered Case
This layered case helped students move from black and white issues to gray issues.

A pharmaceutical company discovers a treatment for HIV-AIDS patients which controls the symptoms and, in some cases, cures the disease

    Complicating circumstances are layered in.

  • The production process produces toxic chemical byproducts.
  • To clean these up properly would cut sharply into the company's profits so it dumps them illegally but temporarily into an aquifer that supposedly nobody uses.
  • The medicine works so the company's product saves lives. But is the cost--the contamination of an aquifer--really worth the cost?

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy used by workshop developers combines qualitative with quantitative assessment. Closed questions help measure changes in student perception and knowledge pertinent to ethics and research ethics. Open-ended questions help assess problem solving and concept prototyping skills.

Pre and post test for assessment

Mapping assessment activities onto bloom taxonomy


Assessment results

Results from 2007-2009A dog sitting on a bed
This table summarizes the assessment results for the 352 students who participated from 2007-2009. These are broken down into ethical perception, ethical knowledge, and rubric graded results on the open-ended definition and case analysis questions.

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