The aim of this activity is to have students critically assess and understand that there are positive and negative aspects of complex ethical engineering issues.
Students write a three-page document explaining the supporting and opposing view points of the debate question and submit the assignment the night before to the course website. The students then divide themselves into two groups of two (the supporting and those opposed).
In class, students perform the debate in the following sequence: Introduction of arguments (4 minutes for each side); rebuttals (3 minutes for each side); 2 minute recess for both sides to discuss concluding remarks; concluding remarks (two minutes each).
Following the debate, students from the audience are encouraged to participate by asking debaters questions, opposing their viewpoints or generally discussing the topic once the debate is complete.
This activity was used for a class of 200 students.
Examples for the debate topics are as follows: Genetically Modified Organisms, Artificial Intelligence, The Canadian oil sands, The Internet of Things,
To develop debating and public speaking skills. To evaluate and critically respond to a complex, open-ended questions.
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