New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
Background: In 2014 and 2015, we developed a survey measuring undergraduate student perceptions of engineering literacy among non-engineers. We compared perceptions across gender, race/ethnicity, area of study, and academic progress, showing very small differences. One of our larger goals was to enhance engineering literacy among non-engineers, and in Fall 2015, we were able to offer a class with a significant engineering literacy component.
Purpose: This paper looks at student evaluations of what they learned in the course. While the course outcomes list what students ought to learn as a result of the class, we have worked to identify how students, particularly the students not intending to major in engineering, have increased their engineering literacy through the course.
Methods: This study used qualitative means of evaluating students' improvements in engineering literacy. We had a participant-observer in the classroom as a witness to how the students have engaged with topics at hand, and in conversing with each other about engineering. Additionally, that same observer interviewed all the students in the class. The students come from a range of academic backgrounds, and at different stages in their academic careers, giving this study some breadth.
Results: The interviews demonstrated that students in the class have increased in their confidence in attitude toward engineering literacy. Through making, through readings, and through critiquing, students have become more confident in their discussions of engineering, evidence of a marked improvement in engineering literacy.
Conclusion: We argue that a course in engineering literacy improves student confidence in conversing about engineering matters. As such, it is an integral component of a liberal arts education, where a goal is to help mold students into more responsible and cognizant citizens. Students in an engineering literacy course can learn why engineering is relevant to non-engineering fields, but also how non-engineering fields are important for engineering.
Grunert, J., & Adams, S. G. (2016, June), Increasing Engineering Literacy among Non-Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25670
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