The Illinois Tech Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) is planning a comprehensive redesign, enrichment, and marketing strategy to elevate its Ethics Code Collection (ECC) to greater global prominence and usefulness. The ECC is a unique resource, comprising a curated collection of over 4,000 ethics codes and guidelines across a range of disciplines for over 40 years. It will serve as a more dynamic global resource for informing ethical decision making in professional, entrepreneurial, scientific, and technological fields, and inform critical research into the advancement of ethical practices in a rapidly changing world.
Educators have long recognized the importance of ethics codes in introducing students to concepts of professional responsibilities, and the ECC sees a large amount of use by professors and students from many different disciplines. Other users include entrepreneurs and practitioners looking for guidance in how to resolve professional ethical issues in their daily work, professional societies writing their own codes of ethics, and consumers interested in finding out more about the ethical guidelines of professionals. In the past 12 months, over 83,500 individuals passed through the ECC, with over 146,300 individual page views.
The current site faces a number of limitations. The existing keyword search is slow and cumbersome, and lacks the ability to sort search results. Users expect better performance from state-of-the-art digital collections. Users wishing to compare versions of ethics codes have to open up multiple browser windows, and do not have the ability to download site content in multiple formats.
The IPRO team will employ a comprehensive user-centered approach to improve the digital ECC for greater service to the academy and the general public. This work will also involve new research on the current and future roles of ethics codes within society, business, and technological innovation. The project will develop enriched educational resources, and extend those resources to a broader audience of professionals, emerging professionals, and citizens across the globe.
This is the third of a series of three IPROs, with the first focusing on analyzing the current site and developing audience profiles and user needs assessments, and the second semester focusing on developing a working prototype of the ECC.
This semester’s IPRO project will focus on refining the prototype site into a production-ready application. This will include extensive usability testing and modifying the site as needed based on these findings. The team will also be asked to develop a marketing plan that enlarges and extends use of the site to new target audiences, and to develop a sustainability plan for the site.
Specific goals for the spring 2017 semester include: (1) Testing and finalizing a metadata schema for the collection; (2) Testing and refining advanced and keyword search of site; (3) Using the collection plan to expand the holdings of the ECC; (4) Building connections with partner organizations to support the site – both national and international; (5) Developing a marketing & sustainability plan for the site; and (6) Limited release of the publicly-accessible ECC site.