Seminar Series | Outsmarting Smartsuits in Outer Space without a TARDIS, a Sonic, and Oxygen: An Exploration of Technology and Ethical Design in Engineering Computing

Bolz Hall Room 128 or Zoom
United States


Due to increasing public awareness of bias in algorithms, there is a greater need to address ethics in computing curricula. Recent approaches include collaborations between computer Science and philosophy faculty and the use of science fiction to engage students. This work aims to develop and integrate an ethics module in an existing engineering computing course at a small liberal arts institution. The module consisted of outside of class assignments and two full 80-minute lecture periods. Prior to the first lecture, students watched an episode of Doctor Who about robotic Smartsuits gone awry and answered guided questions on their own. During the first lecture, a philosophy professor discussed students’ roles and responsibilities as engineers and ethical design factors. A podcast project was assigned as a culminating activity; and students learned how to create podcasts in the second lecture. Student reflections generally suggested that this module provided them with a deeper understanding of ethics in engineering computing as well as a greater ability to apply and communicate about ethical principles. 


Brooke Odle, PhD, (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department at Hope College and an Investigator at the Advanced Platform Technology Center at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her current research is focused on interventions to reduce low back injury risk during manual patient-handling tasks. She also investigates the feasibility of neural stimulation to facilitate independent transfers after paralysis. Her teaching interests include biomechanics of human movement and engineering computing. Prior to joining Hope College, Dr. Odle was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, working in the Motion Study Laboratory at the Advanced Platform Technology Center. She developed and evaluated control systems to restore standing balance after paralysis, explored experimental biomechanical and computational modeling techniques to investigate interactions between the upper extremities and walkers during static and quasi-static standing postures, and investigated the feasibility of neural stimulation to facilitate assisted transfers after paralysis. 

About the EED Seminar Series

Inclusive Excellence Program

Registration is required prior to each seminar. Autumn 2021 seminars will take place in person. Users may register for remote video conferencing. A link and password to each seminar will be sent once you register. Each seminar will be held live and may be recorded for archival and marketing purposes. If you have questions regarding this seminar series, please contact Dr. Emily Dringenberg.

Inclusive Excellence Credit

The Ohio State College of Engineering Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program engages faculty, staff, and students in diversity learning opportunities. Each EED seminar qualifies for 1 (one) point toward your next level in the program. Visit the program's website for documentation requirements and program 

Category: Seminar Series