Engineering has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life. Therefore, engineers must perform under standards of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct. The services provided by engineers require amongst others honesty and impartiality. They must also be dedicated to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
This course will examine the professional rules of conduct for engineers, their obligations to society, to their clients, and to the profession. More specifically we will go into cases of whistle blowing, conflicts of interest and duties of engineers to communicate with the wider community.
The aim of this course is to promote reflection on one's own working practice. This course therefore takes a context-sensitive approach that is typical of the work in the Philosophy Section of Delft University of Technology. Through the assignments in this course we invite professionals to analyze their own cases and examples, and apply the course materials to those cases.
Start the course anytime, and complete it at your own pace!
This is the right course for engineers who either:
- Want to learn professional rules of conduct and how to act in conflicting situations.
- Plan to obtain the Chartered Engineer qualification of The Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI).
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Understand the professional rules of conduct for engineers and how to apply them.
- Appreciate codes of conduct as an expression of the professional rules of conduct.
- Understand the conditions under which whistle blowing is warranted.
- Recognize conflicts of interest and develop strategies for handling these.
- Understand the importance of communication with all stakeholders.
- Develop appropriate communication channels and strategies.
Learning unit 1: Introduction
This learning unit will examine the place of professional ethics in engineering and practical codes of conduct as an expression of these professional ethics.
Learning unit 2: Whistle blowing
This learning unit discusses whistle blowing, with a focus on determining when it is warranted and how it should be handled.
Learning unit 3: Conflicts of interest
This learning unit defines conflicts of interests, examines common causes and provides examples from engineering practice. It also provides strategies for dealing with conflicts.
Learning unit 4: Communication
This learning unit discusses duties of engineers to communicate with stakeholders and with society in general. Again examples are provided of effective means of communication.
Assignments & Assessment
The aim of this course is to promote reflection on one's own working practice. Therefore, the assignments in this course invite professionals to bring in their own cases and examples, and apply the course materials to those cases.
Feedback will be provided by the teachers on the open questions in this course with the aim to deepen reflection as well as theoretical understanding.
Literature and Study Material
Literature for this course will be provided on the course online platform.
Every engineer will face ethical challenges during his or her career. These may include conflicts of interests and entail the need to expose potential negative effects of the products or technologies under development. This course will provide a practical framework for dealing with such situations.
Because of the course's context-sensitive approach, theoretical material is presented only when it helps reflect on concrete dilemmas in engineering, and learners will be invited to examine and reflect on their own working practices.
If you successfully complete the course you will earn a Professional Education Certificate and you are eligible to receive 1.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). To complete the course you need to do two assignments (in units 3 and 4), in which you will have to analyze your own cases and examples, and apply the course materials to those cases.
Chartered Engineer qualification
This course can be part of your portfolio to meet the formal education requirements required to both obtain and maintain the Chartered Engineer qualification licensed by KIVI. This course can be taken either as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD) or of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stages. See all our online courses for engineers that correspond to the required competencies determined by KIVI.
This course is primarily geared towards working professionals. No prior knowledge is required.
After enrolling you will receive a confirmation email. In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to email the following document:
- a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email.