Evaluating Students' Perceptions for the Ethics Module Content in Nanotechnology Safety: Meeting the Needs for Post-Secondary Students in STEM Areas

  • Dominick E. Fazarro (The University of Texas at Tyler)
  • Jitendra S. Tate (Texas State University)
  • Walt Trybula (Texas State University)
  • Craig Hanks (Texas State University)
  • Robert McLean (Texas State University)
  • Satyajit Dutta (Texas State University)
  • Adam Mokhtari (The University of Texas at Tyler)


The nanotechnology revolution requires an educated workforce, one that will act with technical proficiency and attentive to avoiding risks. While there are efforts throughout the world to create workers with skills in nanotechnology, there has been a dearth of efforts in addressing the potential risks in handling and otherwise employing the novel, and in some ways still unknown properties of nanomaterials. the program that is described in this paper is one of the first developments of a nanotechnology safety course within the traditional curricular structures of undergraduate education in the united States. the objective of the effort is to provide students with an initial understanding of the implication of developing and deploying nanotechnology. not only does this effort provides guidance for the proper handling and storage of nanomaterials but also addresses regulations and other official guidance that requires detailed record keeping. thus, this project helps equip future nanotechnology workers and researchers with certain technical and regulatory knowledge. the overall effort provides the students with an understanding of the proper approaches to addressing issues with materials whose properties and effects are unknown. Many professional codes and guidelines for engineering and technology indicate that protecting public welfare and safety is an ethical duty. following this lead, project developers determined that safety education was best presented within the context of a broader consideration of ethics of emerging technologies (hollander, et al, 2005; Khushf, 2004a). Project investigators were also guided by the goal of designing course materials and modes of presentation that would be most engaging to the current generation of students, the so-called Millennials. this paper outlines the context of the project, including the relevance of ethics to safety education and the challenges of preparing students to address the implications and risks of new technologies, discusses pedagogical issues particular to Millennials, and describes course development and initial implementation. the first assessment evidence is presented, indicating significant student engagement.

Keywords: nanotechnology, nanotechnology education, nanotechnology safety, nanoethics

How to Cite:

Fazarro, D. E. & Tate, J. S. & Trybula, W. & Hanks, C. & McLean, R. & Dutta, S. & Mokhtari, A., (2015) “Evaluating Students' Perceptions for the Ethics Module Content in Nanotechnology Safety: Meeting the Needs for Post-Secondary Students in STEM Areas”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 31(1).

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Published on
31 Dec 2014