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A Course Investigating Technology In World Civilization

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.30.1 - 9.30.8



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Paper Authors

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William Loendorf

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

A Course Investigating Technology in World Civilization

William R. Loendorf Eastern Washington University School of Computing and Engineering Sciences Department of Engineering Technology and Multimedia Design


An interdisciplinary course has been created that explores a historical perspective of the development of technology in a global context. This junior level course traces the interconnected events and cultures in which technology developed. It investigates how technologies are inter- related and how cultural factors affect the acceptance or rejection of technology. The intent of the course was to enhance the student’s understanding of how technologies developed and why.

The social, political, economic and cultural impacts of technologies are explored to determine their positive and negative affects. In this context the two biggest technology drivers of agriculture and war are studied in detail. Through innovations agriculture was able to produce more food allowing populations to grow. While new inventions created more effective and devastating weapons of war used to kill and destroy.

Numerous questions or mysteries of the past are addressed. For example, why did similar inventions appear in different parts of the world almost simultaneously? How did information and technology spread from one place to another and why did they fade away in one place only to resurface later in a different place? How and why were inventions or innovations diffused or borrowed from one culture adapted to suit the needs of another?

Teaching methods include lectures, discussions, videos and written assignments. The assignments require students to identify and apply the knowledge obtained from the course to both historical and today’s technologies. The students are challenged to be creative and innovative in their solutions to the problems presented to them.

The material covered helps the student to understand and recognize our dependence on technology and its invasive nature into our lives. Technology is such a big part of our lives today that we often take it for granted. In fact, it is had to imagine exactly what our lives would be without it. Therefore, it is important to understand how this occurred and what the ramifications might be. In this course the students study the past development, use and affects of technology in order to be better prepared for the new technologies of the future!

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Loendorf, W. (2004, June), A Course Investigating Technology In World Civilization Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13009

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