This project modified and enhanced the Online Ethics Center (OEC) to help principal investigators and institutions respond knowledgeably to NSF requirements for ethics education instituted as part of the America COMPETES Act of 2007. In the long term, the project sought to improve the ability of the OEC to serve Academy members and others who wish to enhance excellence in research and research ethics, and to build trustworthy research communities responsive to democratic concerns. The OEC Advisory Group and its members assisted and guided developing, testing, modifying, and evaluating OEC site enhancements, and also helped to host activities to gather information about the utility of the site.
In developing the new interface and materials, the NAE worked closely with the Ethics Education Library (EEL) run by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) and the Usability Testing and Evaluation Center at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Four usability studies were conducted to assess the needs of administrators and faculty. These results were then used to inform the identification and development of materials and the design of interfaces and databases for the OEC and the CSEP home page.
Project results include a redesign of the site navigation to improve usability, which included the creation of the Cases and Scenarios Database and the Topics section. In addition a large number of annotated bibliographies, cases and scenarios, and resource collections on key topic areas were added to the site. Lastly, to improve searching on the site metadata was added to many of the OEC resources with the help of IIT.