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The Medical Theory Of Engineering And Technology Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1028.1 - 6.1028.5

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Hamid Khan

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

Session 2248

The Medical Theory of Engineering and Technology Education

Hamid Khan Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 47907

“Problem solving in general, whether it is used to solve mathematical problems at the school level, or in serious research that may lead to major (medical) breakthroughs, or simply to solve problems we encounter during our daily lives, is an indispensable skill that every well-educated person should acquire. There are some gifted people who have attained these skills in a natural way. Yet the vast majority of us require(s) some training to develop proper problem solving skills. Providing this training is perhaps one of the most important responsibilities resting with our educators. All too often students ‘pick up’ problem solving skills through experience or as a bye product of doing exercises in mathematics or science classes. Watching the teacher or the textbook author plow through some problem situations can also lead to some lasting spin-offs.” Herbert A. Hauptman, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

The reason Hauptman has been quoted for this paper is obvious. A medical theory of effective engineering and technology and problem solving will be discussed. The other objective of this paper is the development of a concept of problem solving in Industrial Technology majors from theory to practice. In studying Industrial Technology subjects, where the rigor is not on mathematics or deep concepts, but problem solution, students are exposed to some classical techniques of Industrial Engineering, Production and Operations Research, and Engineering Economics problems. Although some good students “all too often ‘pick up’ problem solving skills through experience or as a bye product of doing exercises,” it has been invariably seen that they never learn the problem solving strategies for efficient and elegant solutions.

This paper will discuss some of the problem solving strategies for teaching effectiveness in an industrial technology classroom setting, where the higher level engineering concepts must be translated to efficient and elegant solutions for applications. The students’ learning effectiveness will be characterized by firm evidence, that they learned a theory for the sake of practice.


This paper examines, in regard to similarities and differences, the constructs and philosophical approaches of the three paradigms of inquiry and problem solving in engineering technology (ET) education: (1) Positivistic, (2) Interpretive, and (3) Critical. It also tries to look into the major frameworks of constantly changing relationship between theory and practice. Critically examining these frameworks, an effort was made to see if any one of the frameworks has contributed most to the body of knowledge in ET education, and which one holds the most promise for the future.

Khan, H. (2001, June), The Medical Theory Of Engineering And Technology Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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