June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
23.183.1 - 23.183.11
An On-line History of Technology Course to Promote an Understanding of the Impact of Engineering Solutions among Practitioners at the University LevelThe Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the primary accreditationorganization for post-secondary engineering and technology departments in the United States,requires that all engineering curriculum include courses that teach students about the relationshipbetween engineering practice and society. Based on a review of published curricula and anadditional survey of deans of engineering, this paper first argues that many engineering schoolsare having difficulty meeting this requirement in a meaningful way. This paper then argues thatwhile economics and ethics courses are most often used to fulfill this requirement, history offersthe ideal stage on which to illustrate the engineering-society relationships. Purely technical andeconomic issues alone do not always shape the innovation process. Politics, religion, and cultureare also among the numerous societal issues that can influence the contents, direction, location,and rhythm of technological change. The distant and recent past offer many illuminatingexamples that allows engineering students to appreciate the possible roles that societal issues canplay along the various phases of the innovation process. Current examples of history oftechnology and engineering courses taught to engineering students are reviewed, and thedifficulties in designing and delivering such a course, for example the need for cooperationbetween historians and engineers, are reviewed. Finally, this paper suggests that the growth ofon-line education affords the opportunity for an organization with the appropriate resources todevelop and deliver of history of technology and engineering course globally. The status of theauthors’ institution to develop such a course is reviewed.
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: © 2013 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