June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Technological Literacy Constituent Committee
14.545.1 - 14.545.12
Engineering Courses for Non-Engineers: Identifying and Developing Course Models Abstract
The National Academy of Engineering advocates that all Americans should know more about engineering and technology. Some engineering departments are beginning to offer courses specifically for non-engineering students. Although common practice among many STEM departments, teaching service courses is a new development for engineering programs. To create a population with a more empowered relationship with technology, a significant and extensive initiative by engineers will be needed. Curricula and course materials that can be adopted in diverse and varied institutional environments will be essential to this effort. The National Academy of Engineering in two reports: Technically Speaking: Why All Americans Need to Know More about Technology (2002), and Tech Tally: Approaches to Assessing Technological Literacy (2006), describe and define characteristics of a technologically literate citizen. Technological literacy implies understanding of all of the diverse technological products produced by engineering, not just computers and information technology. The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a working group led by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Technological Literacy Constituent Committee to develop standardized and readily adoptable undergraduate engineering courses for non-engineers. This group reviewed courses already being offered for non-engineers and developed four models to serve as potential templates or standard course models. A framework was established for specific course outlines consistent with the content areas established by the NAE in Tech Tally of: technology and society, design, products and systems, and technology core concepts and the ITEA technology topic areas. To satisfy the diverse requirements of curriculum committees on varied campuses, the framework offers faculty flexibility in planning courses within each proposed model while still accomplishing the goals of the standards.
In Technically Speaking1 and Tech Tally 2, The National Academy of Engineering emphasized the need for all Americans to understand and appreciate our technological infrastructure. The National Science Foundation’s “Shaping the Future” suggested that science and engineering faculty must insure that: “All students have access to supportive, excellent undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering and technology 3.”
While these calls for technological literacy have resulted in some progress, most efforts are thus far directed largely toward the K-12 population. The International Technological Education Association (ITEA) with support from the NSF and NASA produced a set of standards that help define the concept of technological literacy4 and are intended for K-12 students. The ITEA is also working to develop program and assessment standards and curriculum materials for the K- 12 audience 5. The engineering community has responded enthusiastically to the need to increase the career awareness and understanding of engineering among K-12 students. However efforts directed at the undergraduate non-engineering student population have been limited.
Krupczak, J. (2009, June), Engineering Courses For Non Engineers. Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4911
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