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Minors In Engineering Studies: Teaching Technology To Non Engineers, First Results

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Engineering for Nonengineers: Ideas & Results

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.897.1 - 13.897.6



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Paper Authors

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Mani Mina Iowa State University

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

Minors in Engineering Studies: Teaching Technology to Non- Engineers, First results


The Minor in Engineering Studies was designed by the college of engineering at our school to help increase technological literacy of the non-engineering students at our university. This program officially started in fall 2006 with little to no publicity. We have a program that started small and is now growing very little publicity by the college of engineering. In this paper we will discuss the challenges, and the success of the first complete year of offering this program at our college. The paper will discuss case studies of the type of students we originally attracted and the type of students that we think this program will best be suited. The paper will also describe some of the successful ideas and classes in our program. We show how the program could team up with different departments and strengthen the minor as well as expand the diversity of the subjects and classes that we can offer to our students. Finally we examine ways to offer successful classes by discussing some of the experiences our team gained during the last three terms.


The need for better technological understanding and awareness of technological issues has been recently brought up to the forefront of engineering education circles. There are numerous managers, CEOs, policy makers, and leaders who are making critical decisions on technological issues related to technology and are not trained in the technical fields.

Technological literacy and public technological awareness have been gradually becoming the most important items on national education agenda. It is generally accepted the nations that are more technologically capable would play a more active role in international market place and future production [1-5].

The future advancements and developments in the US is bound to be more in the hi-tech area with high technically trained workforce. Due to the labor prices, the manufacturing that is totally dependant on manual labor will be moving countries with lower labor cost. Consequently, the main part of the non-engineering US workforce (especially those who will not have engineering or technological trainings) will have to have fundamental understanding of technology, the usage of technology and issues related to technology.

In addition fundamental understanding of technology is becoming necessary for many managers, directors, CEOs, as well as policy makers. However, most such key decision makers do not have engineering degrees. At the same time such individuals are defining policies, company directions, and future planning for technologically related or technologically affected disciplines. For such individuals, a fundamental understanding of the basis and concepts of technology, engineering, and technological developments are essential [3,4]

Mina, M. (2008, June), Minors In Engineering Studies: Teaching Technology To Non Engineers, First Results Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3441

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