European engineering educators


#1 Roland Tormey from EPFL discusses ethics

Season 1, Ep. 1

For our launch episode, our guest is Dr Roland Tormey, current co-chair of the SEFI Ethics Special Interest Group, and a senior scientist in the College of Humanities at Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lousanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Roland’s training as a sociologist has provided the basis for his work into both emotion and inter-cultural education, and his pioneering research in teacher training and engineering ethics is changing how we think about engineering education.

*Must read* Show notes including background and further reflections to take back to your own contexts:

Drawing on his work into the formal and hidden curricula of ethics in engineering education, he stresses the importance of ensuring that we teach ethics in a way that makes it relevant to engineers, and defines four elements which combine to give rise to ethical behaviour. He takes the view that our standard approach to teach moral reasoning using classic case studies don’t go far enough. Indeed, he argues that examples must be carefully selected, and that we need a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence and awareness. 

Join Dr Neil Cooke (University of Birmingham) and Dr Natalie Wint (Swansea University) for this inspiring discussion.

Thanks to Roland for helping us to get this podcast off the ground by volunteering to be one of our first guests!


0.00: Abstract

0.50: Podcast intro

1.35: Experiences of teaching engineering ethics from Neil and Natalie

2.35: Roland's background

6.00: The relevance of ethics to engineering.

7.20: Four elements of ethical behaviour

8.20: Considering students' life experience

9.50: The Minnesota approach: different stages of moral reasoning

16.45: Methods that help develop post-conventional moral reasoning

18.30: Thinking processes vs. emotional processes

23.00: The role of emotions in making ethical design decisions

26.20: Pitfalls to avoid when teaching using case studies

29.30: Having the right level of emotion.

31.00: How we should assess ethical thinking skills

34.30: Final advice from Roland

35.50: Key takeaways from Natalie and Neil.

*Must read* Show notes including background and further reflections:


Key publication:

Roland Tormey’s other publications:

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Music: ComaStudio

More Episodes


#2 Mia Stephens from JMP discusses statistical thinking

Season 1, Ep. 2
For our second episode we welcome Mia Stephens, an Advisory Product Manager with JMP (pronounced jump), a corporate partner of SEFI, and part of SAS Institute, an American multinational developer of analytics software. Mia is responsible for providing technical support for JMP academic users. Prior to joining SAS, she was an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at University of New Hampshire, a founding member of the North Haven Group and a trainer and consultant with the George Group. As well as being a co-author of four books and several papers, she has developed training materials, taught, and consulted within a variety of fields and industries.*must read* Show notes including further reflections and talking points to take back to your own contexts: this episode Mia explains that statistical thinking is key to understanding engineering processes and process variation, and thus process improvement. She explains that many academic programs don’t teach students to think statistically, and about the existence of a skills gap between what is taught and what industry needs. She introduces us to STIPS (Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving), a free online statistics course which introduces the statistical thinking process through 7 modules (statistical thinking and problem solving; exploratory data analysis; quality methods; decision making with data; correlation and regression; design of experiments; and predictive modelling and text mining.Join Dr Natalie Wint (Swansea University) and Dr Neil Cooke (University of Birmingham) for this informative discussion.Thanks to Mia for spending the time to talk to us about this ever-important topic and to everyone at JMP for supporting SEFI in its mission! Timestamps:0.00 Abstract0.44 Podcast intro1.10 Experiences of teaching statistical thinking from Neil and Natalie2.20 Mia's background3:10 Introduction to JMP4:50 How do we define statistical thinking and why is it important to teach?7:00 JMP’s expert survey into skills gap between teaching and industry11:52 Visual Six Sigma15:10 Barriers to teaching statistics in a practical, ‘hands-on’ way17:33 Mia’s experience of teaching statistics to engineering students20:25 Design of Experiments (DOE)24:40 The STIPS (Statistical Thinking for Industrial Problem Solving) course28:00 Use of STIPS in industry29:00 Big data and what’s next for statistical thinking30:13 Final advice from Mia31:20 Accessing the STIPS course32:12 Key takeaways from Natalie and Neil.Resources: Six Sigma: Making Data Analysis Lean | JMP*must read* Show notes including further reflections and talking points to take back to your own contexts: a member of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI, Europe's largest network of engineering educators: www.sefi.beLeave us feedback/comments/suggestions: by ComaStudio Neil Cooke.Show notes and corresponding article: Natalie Wint.