June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
This paper uses narrative analysis to study the barriers and opportunities one research team encountered as we set out to create a class assignment aimed at developing engineering students’ sociotechnical habits of mind. One of the goals of this assignment was for it to be transferable across multiple course contexts, including different engineering disciplines, course instructors, level of students, and course structure. This property distinguishes it from other prior attempts at developing sociotechnical-based assignments in the literature, which have primarily focused on a single course-context.
The process of writing and implementing the assignment followed by the authors’ reflection and analysis required for this paper elucidated many findings that are relevant to other efforts to integrate sociotechnical concepts into core engineering science and design courses. Specifically, we identified barriers to sociotechnical integration which include addressing the diverse needs and objectives of our courses, managing different instructor backgrounds and biases, using appropriate terminology which avoids reinforcing the dualism we are trying to address, selecting appropriate problem statements for our assignment, and settling upon the correct logistics for its implementation. Nevertheless, our work also identified opportunities presented by such sociotechnical integration. These opportunities resulted from the work of multiple instructors wrestling with the assignment together and creating an assignment that we believe fills a need in engineering education.
By collaboratively narrating our journey from conception to implementation for a single cross-contextual sociotechnical assignment and describing the lessons learned, we hope to equip other engineering educators to successfully integrate social and technical learning. This paper is also a contribution to the literature exploring why such integration is so challenging in the first place.
Claussen, S. A., & Tsai, J. Y., & Boll, A. M., & Blacklock, J., & Johnson, K. (2019, June), Pain and Gain: Barriers and Opportunities for Integrating Sociotechnical Thinking into Diverse Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33151
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