Asee peer logo

An On-line Course in the History of Engineering and Technology

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Restructuring/Rethinking STEM

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.183.1 - 23.183.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Geselowitz Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

visit author page

Michael N. Geselowitz is Senior Director of the IEEE History Center. Immediately prior to joining IEEE in 1997, he was Group Manager at Eric Marder Associates, a New York market research firm, where he supervised Ph.D. scientists and social scientists undertaking market analyses for Fortune 500 high-tech companies. He is also a registered Patent Agent. He holds S.B. degrees in electrical engineering and in anthropology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Harvard. His research focus has been on the history and social relations of technology. He has worked as an electronics engineer for the Department of Defense, and he has held teaching and research positions relating to the social study of technology at M.I.T., Harvard, and Yale University, including a stint as Assistant Collections Manager/Curator at Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Through the arrangement between IEEE and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, that sponsors the IEEE History Center, he is currently Adjunct Professor of History of Technology and of Science, Technology and Society at Rutgers.

visit author page


Lyle Feisel P.E. Binghamton University

visit author page

Dr. Lyle Feisel holds B.S, M.S, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University. He served on the faculty of the South Dakota School of Mines, including eight years as chair of Electrical Engineering, and then as the Founding Dean of Engineering at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Retired from academia, he remains active in the affairs of development and accreditation of engineering education worldwide. From 2000 to 2003, he was Chair of the IEEE Educational Activities Board and IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities. He also served as Chair of the IEEE Life Members Committee. He is currently Chair of the IEEE History Committee and Vice President for Development of the IEEE Foundation. He served ASEE both as President and as Acting Executive Director.

visit author page

Download Paper |


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.

Geselowitz, M., & Feisel, L. (2013, June), An On-line Course in the History of Engineering and Technology Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19197

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