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Three-stage rocket in ethics

Below is a brief description of what we call a three-stage rocket in ethics. The purpose is to show how to integrate ethics/sustainability issues into the teaching.


The basic idea is that ethics/sustainability issues should be included throughout the programme and that the understanding of the students in these issues should be deepened in each course year. As a first step, the rocket therefore contains a brief introduction to the issues in cycle 1, in order to give the students the opportunity in cycle 2 to practice verbal communication in ethics issues relevant to their education, such as in the form of a role play exercise, for example. In cycle 3, the students will be given the opportunity to communicate and analyse these ethical questions in writing.

Cycle 1

An ethics lecture within the framework for an appropriate course. The lecture concerns introducing the ethical issues that the students will meet in their future professional role. The lecture is based on discussion

Cycle 2

The students are expected to perform a role play exercise that is designed to suit their education and future professional role. Experiences from role playing show that the students usually get a lot out of the ethical discussions that the role play stimulates. The role play is usually structured as a "hearing" about any current issue or event with clear ethical relevance where people with different interests argue for their position. The emphasis here is on verbal argumentation on relevant ethical issues. The examination is participatory.

Cycle 3

A slightly larger ethical element in a written assignment. The element corresponds to approximately one week's full-time studies, and this allows students in-depth involvement in an ethical problem area and to gain practice of arguing in writing about it.


The description above is a basic outline that you can naturally change according to needs. For example, in the Degree Programme in Electrical Engineering, we have designed the rocket as follows:

  • Cycle 1, Lecture (2h) introduction to technology and ethics.
  • Cycle 2, Role play: Ethical issues in the GPS surveillance of children.
  • Cycle 3, Lecture (2h) and half-day workshop on how to analyse technology from different ethical perspectives. The aim is to give the students the tools to write an ethical reflection in their graduate thesis.


Do you want to know more about how to integrate ethics/sustainability issues into the teaching? Or do you want to know more about how the rocket can be tailored to your precise needs? If so, contact Jesper Jerkert, Department of Philosophy.