Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Engineering


Experiential Engineering Education


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Scott Streiner, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Cheryl Bodnar, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Daniel Burkey, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Kaitlin Mallouk, Ph.D.


Engineering ethics; Educational games


Engineering Education


Behaving ethically is a core foundation within engineering and is a necessity according to the National Society of Professional Engineers. Therefore, engineering ethics education has been increasingly encouraged within engineering curriculums in higher education. Many instructors have found it difficult to teach engineering ethics effectively using traditional strategies such as lectures. This has caused a trend toward more active learning strategies being researched and utilized within the engineering ethics space. One strategy that has been growing in popularity in instruction both inside and outside of engineering is game-based learning or using educational games with instruction to accomplish learning goals. To this end, three games have been created by researchers at Rowan University, University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, and New Jersey Institute of Technology that are designed to aid in the instruction of first-year engineering students around ethical decision making, reasoning, and awareness. This thesis study explores how first-year engineering students conceptualize engineering ethics prior to formal education and investigates how game-based instruction can be used as an effective, situated and playful learning strategy. Students were assessed on their ethical knowledge and reasoning through concept map analysis as well as with the moral reasoning instruments, the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT-2) and the Engineering Ethical Reasoning Instrument (EERI). Student attitudes towards the three games were assessed through responses to a survey. While there was little to no change in the learning outcomes of the students, it was found that the students were engaged and enjoyed the games. This study adds to the field of engineering ethics education and spreads the use of different active learning strategies that can be used to improve the quality of instruction.