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An Online Resource for Developing Technological Literacy Courses

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Technological Literacy for Undergraduate Students

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.196.1 - 22.196.14



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Paper Authors

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John Krupczak Hope College


Kate A. Disney Mission College

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Engineering Faculty
Mission College,
Santa Clara, CA

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An Online Resource for Developing Technological Literacy Courses.Technology affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and informed citizens need anunderstanding of what technology is, how it works, how it is created, how it shapessociety, and how society influences technological development. According to theNational Academy of Engineering, all Americans need to better understand the widevariety of technology used everyday. In two reports: “Technically Speaking: Why AllAmericans Need to Know More about Technology” (2002), and “Tech Tally: Approachesto Assessing Technological Literacy” (2006), the National Academy of Engineering(NAE) has outlined the characteristics of a technologically literate citizen. In addition, theInternational Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the American Associationfor the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have also developed standards definingtechnological literacy. In response to the need to reach out to the non-engineering studentbody, some engineering educators are beginning to take an interest in offering courses onengineering and technology for non-engineers. However an obstacle to offering coursesfor non-engineers is a lack of relevant course materials for both students and instructors.In addition, varying interpretations of what non-engineers should learn about technologycan result in widely different course curricula and student learning outcomes. To addressthese two issues, an online course development site is being developed based on theoutcome of a workshop on the technological literacy of undergraduates sponsored by theNational Science Foundation and held at the National Academy of Engineering. In thisworkshop, participants reviewed the NAE technological literacy standards and proposedfour course models that address parts of those standards in a consistent manner. Thesefour types of courses are (1) technology survey courses that provide a broad overview oftechnological topics, (2) technological focus courses that address a more specific areasuch as: the hydrogen economy or energy conservation, (3) courses that emphasize theengineering design process, and (4) technology connections courses that explore theconnections between technology and other areas of society and culture. In addition tothese four content-oriented course models, the workshop recognized the need tocharacterize the depth of coverage based on the cognitive dimensions of technologydefined by the NAE in “Tech Tally” as: Knowledge, Capabilities, and Decision-making.Using this framework or matrix, an online database is being complied of existing coursematerials and assessment methods already developed by course instructors. The onlinedatabase will allow engineering faculty to custom-build a technological literacy coursefrom the database of existing resources. The application will then evaluate the ensembleof selected materials and proposed course outline in comparison to the standardsarticulated by the NAE. The intent is to allow faculty the flexibility they desire in craftingtechnological literacy courses, while still resulting in student learning that meets the well-considered NAE guidelines. In addition to supplying resources, it is anticipated that theability to align course outcomes with NAE recommendations will be helpful toinstructors in developing materials to meet the requirements of their institutionalcurriculum committees. This work is supported by the National Science Foundationunder awards: DUE-xxxxxxx and DUE-xxxxxxx.

Krupczak, J., & Disney, K. A. (2011, June), An Online Resource for Developing Technological Literacy Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17477

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