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Improving Technical Literacy Of The General Student Population

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Academic Standards and Academic Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.674.1 - 8.674.5



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Paper Authors

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Tarek A. Shraibati

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Ahmad Sarfaraz

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

Session 2407

Improving Technical Literacy in the General Student Population

Tarek A. Shraibati, Ahmad R. Sarfaraz

California State University, Northridge


This paper addresses some of the challenges of teaching engineering courses to non-engineering majors at California State University, Northridge. One of these courses is Introduction to Computer-Aided Graphics Tools offered by Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management department (MSEM). This course was designed to enable computer illiterate students to achieve success in the use of a CAD software package. The course is unique for several reasons: 1) it is the first course that an Engineering department at CSUN has ever offered for non-majors, 2) it is the first computer graphics course taught by an engineering department at CSUN that was approved as a general education breadth course, and 3) it is the first freshman- level General Education course taught by the MSEM department faculty. The challenges we faced in teaching this type of course to non-technical students are many and varied. In this paper, we focus on a subset of ideas and methods that we used to develop this course. One of the ideas, for instance, is to raise the level of technical literacy in the general student population on campus. This includes a substantial number of students with substantial math deficiencies. The ideas that we have developed in this course can be expanded to enhance technical literacy. This has led us to develop other General Education breadth courses that will be discussed in the paper in more detail.


To increase the technical literacy among the general student population at California State University, Northridge, the Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management department began offering a new course, Computer-Aided Graphic Tools (MSE 105), in the Fall 1999 semester. MSE 105 is now being offered in its eighth semester as a general education course for non-engineering majors. This course falls within the General Education program, which requires students to complete a broad program of study in humanities, arts, and sciences in order to earn a bachelors degree. MSE 105 fulfills a portion of the Applied Arts and Sciences requirement within general education. The course teaches students how to use AutoCAD as a drawing tool.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Shraibati, T. A., & Sarfaraz, A. (2003, June), Improving Technical Literacy Of The General Student Population Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12170

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