Draft and Peer Review of Ethics Paper

WRIT 340/Choi
Ethics Assignment
FALL 2021
Our Ethics assignment is worth 220 points and consists of three components:
1. Draft and Peer Review of Ethics Paper (20 points)
2. Ethics Paper (200 points)
● E. Cech, “Great Problems of Grand Challenges: Problematizing
Engineering’s Understandings of its Role in Society,” IJESJP, vol. 1, no.
2, pp. 85–94, Nov. 2012.
● D. Douglas, J. Boutelle, and G. Papadopoulos, “‘Citizen Engineer’
Defined,” Citizen Engineer: a handbook for socially responsible
engineering, 1st edition. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2009.
● National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics.
● R. Van Noorden, “The Ethical Questions that Haunt Facial Recognition
Research,” Nature, vol. 587, pp. 354-358, Nov. 2020.
In 2008, the NAE announced the Grand Challenges for Engineering, a set of 14
“game-changing goals for improving life on the planet” (engineeringchallenges.org). In
2009, David Douglas and Greg Papadopoulos published Citizen Engineer: A Handbook
for Socially Responsible Engineering to promote the idea that “engineers could, and
should, take more visible role in shaping our future world” (citizenengineer.org). The
start of the century, then, seemed a time for both reflection and action on professional
social responsibility.
Not all quarters find the profession of engineering successful in its self-declared mission
of serving humanity. In 2012, International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and
Peace published a special issue on NAE’s Grand Challenges for Engineering. The guest
editor, Erin Cech, analyzes four “themes of critique” that resonate throughout the
special issue: 1) Authorial Particularism; 2) Double Standards: Acknowledging
Engineering’s Contributions to Solutions, Not Challenges; 3) Bracketing the “Social”
and “Political” from the “Technical”; and 4) Technological Determinism. Ultimately,
she calls for “reflexivity—a critical examination of engineers’ roles in the past, present,
and future of societies” and “broadened participation for social justice…[by including]
2 Adapted from Prof. Harly Ramsey’s Fall 2020 WRIT 340 Ethics Assignment.
the voices of other professionals and broader constituencies” affected by the Grand
Challenges and potential solutions.
In a 3-5 page, single-spaced paper (double-spaced between paragraphs), respond to the
following writing prompt:
Craft a position paper addressing any one of Cech’s four themes of critiques. You
must take a nuanced position and support that position with research. You can
examine her critique in the context of all of the Grand Challenges, a single
Challenge, or a specific engineering engagement with a Challenge.
Do not simply agree or disagree with Cech. If you disagree, make sure to present
a nuanced argument with reasons how and why you disagree and the extent to
which you disagree. To the extent you agree with her position, rather than simply
say, “she’s right” and merely summarize her arguments, you must extend,
deepen, qualify, or apply her analysis in an original manner. Remember that a
position need not (and likely should not) be binary – e.g., “she’s 100% right” or
“she’s 100% wrong.” You can agree in part and disagree in part to reflect a
nuanced position.
If you would like to do well on this assignment, consider the following:
● Evolve past simplistic argumentative constructions of “two sides” or “pro” and
“con.” This is not high school speech and debate club. As we learned from our
discussions, the issues are complicated and should not be reduced to choosing
between only two options.
● Present the arguments that you disagree with in a fair way. Don’t oversimplify
or misrespresent positions you disagree with. Doing so reflects poorly on the
writer’s credibility.
● Keep in mind the learning objectives of this course. We are practicing modes
of communication to various audiences and engaging in discourse and
analysis together. We are not trying to “beat” another side; we’re trying to
engage in reasoning and discourse that extend beyond the writer’s ego to
encourage readers to reflect on the writer’s ideas.
The intended audience is the academic community, including all fields of study.
You need to support your position with research, citations, and integration of
sources. A minimum of 6 scholary and academic sources are required. Citations
should be IEEE style; the bibliography is not included in the page count. Focus
writing skills for this assignment include crafting a clear and nuanced position
statement, responding to counterarguments, and integration of the 4Cs.
If you find the Citizen Engineer, NSPE Code of Ethics, and your reflections
thereon to be applicable to your paper topic, you should integrate them into your
analysis, and they will count towards your minimum of 6 scholarly sources (as
will the Cech article).
Your paper should be in Times New Roman, 12 pt font with page numbers in the
bottom right hand corner. Headings are optional. Your first page will look like
Revisiting the Grand Challenges Ethics Assignment
[Paragraph 1 – single spaced]
[double spaced between paragraphs]
[Paragraph 2 – single spaced]
Draft and Peer Review Process
Before submitting your finalized Ethics paper, you will first submit a polished draft and
also provide an anonymous peer review for two draft papers via Blackboard. You must
first submit a draft if you want to participate in the peer reviews. You can find the peer
reviews in the “Assignment Submissions” folder after the draft submission deadline. If
you have thoughtfully completed and submitted two peer reviews on Blackboard prior to
the deadline, you will receive 20 points. Please note that I read and grade your peer
reviews. After the peer review deadline, please go to Blackboard and review the
comments that your peer reviewers have left for you.
● Polished Draft: DUE 10/1 (submit to Blackboard prior to 11:59 PM)
● Peer Review (20 points): DUE 10/4 (complete your two peer reviews on
Blackboard/PeerMark between 10/2 at 12:01 AM – 10/4 at 11:59 PM)
● Final Ethics Paper (200 points): DUE 10/13 (submit to BLACKBOARD prior
to 11:59 PM)

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