Engaging students and professionals in ethical reflections on new and emerging information and communication technologies

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


Techno-Anthropology is an interdisciplinary Master’s program offered by The Technical Faculty of IT and Design at Aalborg University that addresses human – technology interfaces and, hence, combines disciplinary elements of engineering and the humanities. In this concept paper, we present and analyze a three-day field trip to the annual TechFestival in Copenhagen that included a workshop for students, educators and IT professionals. The workshop was integrated into the Master’s program of TechnoAnthropology as a means to teach the students technology ethics by direct interaction with external stakeholders. Hence, the purpose of the workshop was to design, implement and evaluate a participatory, ethical technology assessment teaching format, and consisted of a presentation, practical engagement activities and preparation of individual future road maps. This paper will focus on the context, content and results of the workshop activities. These were centered around a suggested model for collective ethical judgment, which includes the following stages:

1. Identifying ethical issues
2. Linking them to ethical values
3. Identifying ethical dilemmas and placing them in relevant human and non-human networks
4. Engaging participants in value-sensitive discussions aimed at addressing the identified ethical dilemmas provided by the workshop participants.

The paper will outline exemplary participatory design practices that will be of interest to educators and other professionals who work with new and emerging ICTs, and are interested in promoting ethical reflections. The presented analysis identifies the ethical issues, values, dilemmas, networks and solutions suggested by participants, and links them to different aspects of the socio-technical
understanding of technology central to Techno-Anthropology. Future research will focus on how to translate the format of the presented experience into other contexts and technology domains that want to enhance their ethical reflection capabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceeding from the 48th SEFI Annual Conference
EditorsJoke Meijer-Lentelink, Jan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam, Jasmijn de Boer
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherSEFI: European Association for Engineering Education
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventSEFI Annual Conference 2020 : Engaging Engineering Education - Universtíty of Twente, Twente, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sep 202024 Sep 2020
Conference number: 48


ConferenceSEFI Annual Conference 2020
LocationUniverstíty of Twente
Internet address


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