Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Relevant Links

I've added a new feature to this blog: Relevant Links. It's located at the right, underneath Search This Blog. In the process of finding useful material, I often come across other blogs and websites that regularly add material that's interesting for those of us who teach English to engineers and engineering students - or to the engineers and students themselves.

My first link is: Engineering Ethics Blog.

Here's the link also:

The blogger has worked in industry and as an engineer, and is now a teacher of college-level engineering at an American university.

This is what he says in the section About the Engineering Ethics Blog:

"A good engineer both does things right, and does the right thing.  Doing things right is what engineers learn from the technical parts of an engineering education:  classes on differential equations, lab experiments that demonstrate how materials perform, and so on.  Doing the right thing, on the other hand, is not just a technical problem.  It has to do with questions like ‘Who will buy this product? What will they do with it?  Could it hurt anybody?  Was anyone treated unfairly during the development process?’

These types of questions draw upon more than technical knowledge (though technical knowledge is vital)—they test an engineer's character.  And these types of questions—questions about how to do the right thing and avoid the wrong thing in engineering—are what engineering ethics is about.”

He explains: “In this blog, I take a much broader view of engineering ethics, and deal with subjects as diverse as disasters that involve technical matters, movies with an engineering ethics or technical angle, and even philosophical and religious questions that engineers might have to deal with.”

Many of his posts might be rather long for students at a lower level, but for students who are able to read articles from such newspapers as The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times and Time magazine (which I've used on my blog), there shouldn't be a problem.

For teachers, there's useful material for creating lessons with discussions and research work. For example, in Popular Posts by Category there is a section "Disasters." In classes in Engineering Ethics, I've had students read about disasters involving engineering decisions or mistakes, and then discuss the implications for responsibility.

Other topics in this section are "Book reviews," "Engineering ethics (general)," "Humor," and "Movie reviews."

I wish he had more movies with an engineering or technical angle - he has only The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Prestige. In fact, The Bridge on the River Kwai is a film included in Engineering Ethics courses at my university (and it's great), but there are many more films that are also relevant to specific areas of engineering.

It would be interesting to get comments with ideas for films that illustrate some aspect of engineering ethics - and then I could write about them in a future post.

In the meantime, it's worthwhile to check out the Engineering Ethics Blog - for interesting reading and for useful material for teaching English to engineers.

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