Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.535.1 - 4.535.12
The Perspective of Non-Engineers on Technological Literacy
John Krupczak, Jr., Charles W. Green Hope College
This works provides a glimpse into the expectations held by non-engineers for courses in technological literacy. Non-science and non-engineering majors were surveyed to determine what types of information they would like to learn regarding science and technology. The students were enrolled in the “Science and Technology of Everyday Life” course taught at Hope College in the Fall 1998 semester. Anonymous surveys were distributed at the beginning and end of the course. The surveys intended to sample student expectations and interests in learning about science and technology. Later students wrote a short essay describing the information and abilities they considered desirable in the areas of science and technology. Focus group discussions were also conducted. The responses tend toward a desire for information and abilities the non-engineers term as practical or useful in confronting the challenges posed by living in a technological society. The ability to understand what is wrong when technology breaks down, and technical knowledge of benefit to the consumer is highly valued. Specific topics of interest include the automobile, the computer, and common household technological devices. While the input from the non-engineering students forms a useful basis for curriculum development, the general nature of the student expectations leaves ample scope for science and engineering educators to develop specific details of instructional programs.
Colleges and universities are being called upon to improve the quality of education in science and technology for all undergraduates1. In the United States, the National Science Foundation is requesting that Science, Math, Technology and Engineering (SME&T) programs concentrate more effort on the 80% of college students who are not SME&T majors. This latest initiative comes shortly after the completion of a major effort by the Sloan Foundation to improve the quality of education that undergraduates receive in the areas of technology and quantitative reasoning2.
A number of science and engineering educators have begun to create courses intended to specifically address the needs of the non-SME&T students. A review of some historical background information and relevant new developments has been compiled by Byars3. A physics textbook for the general student addressing the basic principles of physics in the context of familiar technological devices has been written by Bloomfield4.
As new initiatives are being developed to reach non-SME&T students, a need exists for guidelines on definitions for scientific and technological literacy. The National Research
Green, C. W., & Krupczak, J. (1999, June), The Perspective Of Non Engineers On Technological Literacy Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/7884
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: © 1999 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