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A Life Cycle Perspective Of Engineering Technology Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Issues and Directions in ET Education & Administration: Part III

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.47.1 - 15.47.10



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Paper Authors

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Joseph Tabas IUPUI

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William Lin Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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

A Life-Cycle Perspective of Engineering Technology Education Abstract

In higher education the terms engineering and ET (Engineering Technology) are often intermingled and confused collegially and among students. Within the communities of higher education, engineering is most often defined as the science of applying knowledge to design and develop systems and structures, while ET is defined asthe science of applying knowledge to solve a problem. Although ET was spawned from engineering after WWII, it has become aself- sustaining educational system that thrives on technological innovation. This evolution in ETeducation is also the biggest challenge in the ET education arena. Unlike engineering, whose roots are based in timeless sciences,including mathematics and physics, technology is a vast topic that seeks to fill the void between development and application. This defining characteristic results in amalleable educational system that covers many topics and adapts quickly to changing job markets.Often,this can minimize students’ exposure to mathematics andclassical sciences. This results in what is regarded in some educational communities as a “light” or a “lesser” educational experience. While this is simply a fallacy, to help avoidthisconnotation, ET educators must identify and incorporate key parameters into their programs. This includesdeveloping a learning environment focused on educationalcomprehensionand knowledge digestion, while avoiding the perils of simply “training” students.This paper discusses ET education from this approach, defineskey parameters, the life cycle of Engineering Technology education, and the differentiation of training and education. To extract and develop this information, the timelines of several ET institutes and their curricular evolution were studied.

1.0 Introduction

The definition of a life cycle can be usedin many different applications. Most commonly, a lifecycle is used to describe a particular pattern of evolution fora product, industry, or organization,to chronicle theirinceptionthroughtheir ending,or to registera transformation into an unrecognizable form. This paper uses a lifecycle perspective of ET (Engineering Technology) education to discuss the history of ET, its role in the educational arena, key parameters that make an effective ET curriculum, and the future of ET.

To truly gain a perspective of the lifecycle of ET education, we must first understand the correlation between the lifecycles of technology and ET education. Importantly, understating the divergence of engineering and ET education as well as their symbiotic relationship, is also a necessity. Coupling these topics leads to the development of parameters, that if carefully examined, yield an accurate perspective of the lifecycle of ET education.

2.0 Engineering and Engineering Technology

In the educational arena, the topic of engineering education versus ET education is passionately debated. Often, this debate is shrouded in misunderstanding, ultimately ending in a declaration of

Tabas, J., & Lin, W. (2010, June), A Life Cycle Perspective Of Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15684

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015