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Technological Literacy As A Science Ge Course In California’s Uc, Csu And Ccc Systems

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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

13.1185.1 - 13.1185.9



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Paper Authors


Vince Bertsch Santa Rosa Junior College

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Professor, Dept of Engineering and Physics
Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA
Vince Bertsch teaches and develops curriculum for a wide spectrum of freshman and sophomore level engineering and physics courses including Electric Circuits and Devices, Engineering Graphics and Design, Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, Properties of Materials, Intro to Engineering, and Computer Programming. He has done engineering work for Versatron, Empire Magnetics and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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

Technological Literacy as a Science GE Course in California’s UC, CSU and CCC Systems


The need for increase technological literacy (TL) in the general population has been discussed and emphasized in many forums. These discussions frequently emphasized the opportunities and responsibilities engineering educators have to developing this area of the educational curriculum. Engr 12, How Stuff Works – The Science Behind Things, at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is a new proposed course offering to address this TL need. The course attempts to deliver an understanding of both science and engineering to a non-technical audience within the framework of a general education (GE) science course that articulates with the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems. Counting the course as a UC GE science course was deemed crucial to meeting minimum enrollment requirements. Approval of SRJC courses involves both a local SRJC process followed by submission to state review boards for the UC, CSU, and CCC (California Community College) systems. This review process presented challenges and dictated course coverage and outline verbiage. A future engineering based technological literacy offering might be a UC transferable GE course in the category of social and behavior sciences. The focus would be on the political and technical institutions that govern our technological infrastructure (water, electrical power, transportation, communication, etc.).

Curriculum Process Update

The proposal and review process required for a UC or CSU transferable course is a lengthy one. Proposals are only accepted by the UC in the early Fall for an effective date the following Fall semester. The local college’s process necessitates further time. Our college curriculum committee established a deadline for new courses in mid May. Initial drafts of the course outline for Engr 12, How Stuff Works, The Science Behind Things, were reviewed by another member of the Engineering & Physics Department at Santa Rosa Junior College in early April of 2007. With the retirement of the department’s shared support staff person, it was initially unclear if the necessary data entry could be completed in time for the division level curriculum review meeting. At the first pass through the division level review, the scientists on the committee voiced enthusiastic support for the concept of an engineering focused GE science course. Suggestions were made to add more information about the structure and role of the lab material to the course, broader information within Topics and Scope, a wider spectrum of representative textbooks, and to add physics as an alternate discipline. This last suggestion was deemed inappropriate by the outline author because a physicist would lack the necessary exposure to the engineering design process that is an integral part of the course. An individual faculty member had expressed concern about the engineering discipline and proposed the course be cross-listed within physics. That opinion, though probably unworkable and inappropriate, was being championed by the corresponding dean. At the next run through with the division level committee, the listing for the discipline was further discussed with many other suggestions and alternatives discussed. There was no consensus and the course proceeded to the campus wide curriculum review meeting without physics or physical sciences as a listed discipline. No

Bertsch, V. (2008, June), Technological Literacy As A Science Ge Course In California’s Uc, Csu And Ccc Systems Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3807

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