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Responding To The Expectations Of Nonengineering Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Technological Literacy I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1063.1 - 9.1063.7

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Paper Authors

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Tarek 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 # 1661


Ahmad R. Sarfaraz, Tarek A. Shraibati

California State University, Northridge

It is widely accepted that increasing the technical literacy among all students is critical as our society becomes increasingly dependent upon science and technology. Therefore, a number of engineering departments at some universities offer courses specifically addressing the needs of the non-engineering students. A general education course, Introduction to Computer-Aided Graphics Tools, has been offered by the Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management department (MSEM) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) since Fall 1998. This course was designed to enable computer illiterate students to achieve success in the use of a CAD software package. The students enrolled in this class who form the general population of the CSUN campus usually come from a wide range of academic majors. In this paper, we intend to address the conceptions and expectations of non-engineering students who enrolled in this class. Students were surveyed to determine their opinions regarding science and engineering. The survey was intended to analyze their opinions regarding the importance of technological literacy, their perceived technical literacy after taking the course, their satisfaction with the course, applicability of the course material to their major field of study, their comfort level taking an “engineering” course, whether their expectations of the course content were met, why they took the course in the first place, and would they take another course in the discipline. The input from the non-engineering students forms a useful basis for curriculum development; the results of the study can be used for other engineering educators to develop specific details of instructional programs.


Based on the findings of the National Science Foundation study on technical literacy of non- technical majors1, it is now widely accepted that technical literacy among all students is a critical role of engineering educators in our society2, 3. It is believed engineering colleges have a vital role to develop curriculum which meets the expectations of non-technical students. In order to enhance a curriculum reflecting the expectations of these students, it is necessary to respond to expectations of non-technical students. A survey was conducted to allow faculty to determine students’ expectations and how well they were met by a general education course centered about a computer aided design software program. Krupczak and Green4 used similar study to determine the perspective of non-technical students on technical literacy. They found a clear definition of technical literacy was stated by their students. This included the ability to interact with technical systems and repair them when they fail. Students in their study specifically site the ability to interact with computers, cars, and other technically advanced devices. Although there is a diverse

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Shraibati, T., & Sarfaraz, A. (2004, June), Responding To The Expectations Of Nonengineering Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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