Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Teaching Engineering Ethics


I was the instructor for an Engineering Ethics course offered by the Engineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley. The first day of class was a "disaster". No one talked! Miraculously, on the second day everyone engaged in non-stop talk. Some students stayed after class, to continue the dialogue. They where phenomenal. Bright young people with so many great ideas for improving the world. These young people gave me faith in the future.

Why the change in student response. Well, the first day I was "the expert". But on the second day, I treated the students as experts. I wanted to listen to them, rather than myself. That was all the difference in the world. We learned what we needed to learn, but we did it together. I stopped acting like the center, and allowed everyone to be "at center". It worked!

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