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Science And Technology Of Everyday Life: A Course In Technology For Liberal Arts Students

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.382.1 - 1.382.5

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John Krupczak

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

I .— - ..... Session 2261 .

Science and Technology of Everyday Life: A course in technology for liberal arts students

John Krupczak, Jr, Hope College


A course in technological literacy has been developed and implemented at Hope College. The course is intended for the general education of liberal arts students The objective is to develop a familiarity with how various Technological devices work, and to explain the basic scientific principles underlying their operation. Topics covered include: the automobile, radio and television, computers, and medical imaging. The format is three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week over a 15 week semester. The course was first offered in the Spring 1995 semester. The target audience for the course was seen as general liberal arts students. A major goal of the course is to reduce the fear and apprehension of this group toward understanding technology. The course focuses on the wide variety of technology used in everyday life to help in engaging the student’s interest. The lecture portion of the course is taught in a single section by one member of the engineering faculty. Student attitudes generally support the conjecture that a course based on familiar technology would be a suitable motivation for student interest, enrollment has increased to a maximum capacity of 50 students. Introduction

Modern societies depend upon technological devices for communication, food production, transportation, health care, and even entertainment. While the dependence on technology is widely recognized, very few students receive any formal education in technology. In an undergraduate education, engineering students, students in some of the sciences such as physics, and possibly vocational students, receive an exposure to the complexities and workings of technology. The majority of liberal arts students receive no education in technology despite fulfillment of college graduation requirements which include science courses.

One of the causes for this lack of exposure can by identified by noticing that the current route to understanding technology requires liberal arts students to minor or double major in a science such as physics or a branch of engineering. Introductory courses in the sciences generally do not focus on technological applications. A need exists for a one semester course through which liberal arts students might gain an understanding of technology sufficient for their future life experience and careers.

In this paper the development of a course in technology specifically for liberal arts students is reported. The target audience is described, and the goals and objectives are outlined. The means of implementation and the results of two semesters experience are given.

Course Audience

The students for whom the course is intended are general liberal arts students. The course described draws students with business, education, fine arts, languages, humanities, and social sciences majors. These

---- {iii’ 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘Jay }

Krupczak, J. (1996, June), Science And Technology Of Everyday Life: A Course In Technology For Liberal Arts Students Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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