Adapting the Case Model Approach for the Delivery of Engineering Ethics Professional Development Units

Heidi Ann Hahn


This article describes an action research project conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory to resolve a problem having to do with the ability of licensed and/or certified engineers to obtain the ethics-related professional development units (PDUs) needed to maintain their credentials. A case model approach, with online delivery, was selected as the optimal pedagogical model for the target audience; the rational for this decision is described in detail. Examples of the case scenarios used are provided as are resources from which engineering-related ethics cases can be obtained. Response rates indicated that the approach was effective in helping licensed professional engineers obtain the needed PDUs. The rates of correct responses to the scenarios provided suggest that a desirable level of knowledge transfer had occurred. Suggestions for future improvements include supplementation of the online courseware with a facilitated asynchronous threaded discussion board, blog, or wiki to emulate the richness and feedback of case models presented in a classroom or workshop setting that is lost in online instruction.

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