Development of a Video Game to Teach Engineering Ethics in Canada

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Roncin, Andrew
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This thesis covers the design, implementation, and review of a video game designed to assist Canadian Engineering Interns in understanding and contextualizing engineering ethics. This understanding is essential during their professional practice exam and subsequently in their day-to-day lives as engineers. In engineering schools, engineering ethics is traditionally taught either as a philosophical examination of how engineers should act  or as rote learning of the act, by-laws, and code of ethics that govern engineering practice. Most importantly, in the context of undergraduate engineering education, the amount of coverage is limited, and students are all too often focused on what is needed for the test, not mastery of the material for their own understanding. Unlike university courses, playing this game is voluntary, no grades are assigned, and players are expected to game the system by choosing poor responses just to see what will happen to them. Learning occurs through exploring cause and effect relationships, by making ethical choices and experiencing how decisions often have trade-offs or conflicting right answers. To encourage reflection, players were asked to think about the cases, and how they reacted to the unprofessional behaviour of characters in the game, through this reflection process, players are encouraged to grow, understand, and adopt professional behaviours. The research methodology was to create a proof of concept video game featuring five case studies of conflicts that an Engineer or Engineering Intern might reasonably encounter in their professional practice. The game then went through a design review, in which sixteen Professional Engineers and Engineering Interns played the game and reviewed the cases in detail to provide feedback on their realism and identify areas for improvement. Based on the feedback from testers, the concept is sound, addresses a need within the engineering community and merits further research.
Engineering, Ethics, Game-Based-Learning, Manitoba, Authentic Learning, Instructional Design, Game Design, Professional Practice, Education