Asee peer logo

Technology Courses For Undergraduates: Developing Standard Models

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Service Courses for Non-Engineers

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1188.1 - 13.1188.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John Krupczak Hope College

visit author page

Professor of Engineering

visit author page


David Ollis North Carolina State University

visit author page

Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

The Technological Literacy of Undergraduates: Developing Standard Models


This paper reports the results of a workshop on the technological literacy of undergraduates convened at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) on March 26-27, 2007. The NAE advocates that all Americans become more knowledgeable about technology. Here technological literacy is defined as the broad understanding of all types of technological devices and process not just computers. Educators in Computer Science, Engineering and Technology have a responsibility to educate all students not just those intending technical careers. Despite the need for all Americans to become technologically literate, technical literacy is not likely to gain wide acceptance until the scholarly community develops standard courses that are supported by textbooks and other course materials. This National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored workshop sought to identify and define several models of technological literacy courses. Based on a review of courses already developed and comparisons to other disciplines, four candidate standard models were identified:The Technology Survey Course, The Technology Focus or Topics Course, The Technology Creation Course (Design Course), The Technology Critique, Assess, Reflect, or Connect Course. The technology survey courses offer a broad overview of a number of areas of engineering and technology. The technology or topics or focus course is narrower in scope and develops one well-defined area. The engineering design course, or technology creation, places an emphasis on the engineering design process to develop technological solutions to problems. The last model to emerge is concerned with assessing technological impacts, connecting technological developments to other areas of society, history and culture, or reflecting on engineering in a broader context.


In publishing “Technically Speaking [1],” The National Academy of Engineering has emphasized the need for all Americans to understand and appreciate our technological infrastructure. The National Science Foundation’s “Shaping the Future” challenged science and engineering faculty to insure that: “All students have access to supportive, excellent undergraduate education in science, mathematics, engineering and technology [2].”

This call for technological literacy has resulted in some action; however, the national efforts are thus far directed largely toward the pre-college population. The International Technological Education Association (ITEA) with support from the NSF and NASA has produced a set of standards that help define the concept of technological literacy [3]. These are intended for K-12 students. The ITEA is also working to develop program and assessment standards and curriculum materials for the K-12 audience [4]. The engineering community has responded enthusiastically to the need to increase the awareness and understanding of engineering as a career, by initiating a number of programs aimed at the K-12 students.

To achieve widespread impact, standard classes must be taught at many institutions around the country. To accomplish this, standard models of technological literacy courses must be

Krupczak, J., & Ollis, D. (2008, June), Technology Courses For Undergraduates: Developing Standard Models Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3507

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015