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The Technology World Is Changing Rapidly Can Higher Education Match The Pace?

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

History and Future of Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

13.1269.1 - 13.1269.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3629

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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John Robertson Arizona State University

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John Robertson is a Professor in the Electronic Systems Department at Arizona State University Polytechnic. He was formerly an executive with Motorola and now participates in many senior technical training programs with the JACMET consortium.

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Louis Frenzel Electronic Design Magazine

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Louis Frenzel has wide experience of higher education and is currently editor of Electronics Design Magazine.

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James Hyder Intel

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James Hyder is an expert in ion implantation technology. He is currently responsible for technology training activities in Intel Fab 11X, Albuquerque, NM.

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Michael Lesiecki MCCCD

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Michael Lesiecki is Director of the MATEC organization - a national center devoted to educational technology development for community colleges.

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Thomas McGlew Maricopa Advanced Technology Education Center

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Tom McGlew is Project manager for the ESYST program which has been funded by the NSF to develop systems-oriented educational programs for use in community colleges.

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

The Technology World is Changing Rapidly. Can Higher Education Match the Pace?

Abstract

New electronics technology has been the driver for huge changes in all sectors of business over the past three decades. As more functions have been integrated on silicon, the amount of component-level design, assembly and test has decreased and with it the need for large numbers of engineers and technicians with these manual skills. Instead, low-cost assemblies are now produced in relatively few locations but they feed a rapidly developing global market for electronic systems applications. The paper considers the new skills that the higher educational system has to deliver for future jobs. The changes impact all engineering education sectors but the two-year schools are in the front line. A new NSF-funded program has been launched to address the issues.

Pittsburgh, We Have a Problem

If a group of 1988 graduates were to sit in an introductory electronics class in many higher education establishments today, they would find that very little had changed. Students still learn manual circuit analysis and how to solder discrete components, op amps and logic gates on simple circuit boards to create basic electronic functions. Bipolar transistors are given more emphasis than MOS and any computer-aided design and analysis of circuits is very much linked to examples that can also be done manually. If challenged, the justification is that these hallowed courses are vital to provide students with “the fundamentals” of the subject. Commercial products and their applications may change but the fundamentals never will. Hence there is no need for curriculum change. There are always good intentions to treat current (ie 1990s) technology in the later courses if there is time – and of course, there never is enough time. This outlook prevails across all higher education but the implications are most severe in two-year schools since they don’t have the luxury of using upper division and graduate-level classes to introduce current technology and its associated skills.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the validity of this line of argument. It is the starting point for a new NSF-funded curriculum development initiative that will be discussed later in the paper. However, the underlying causation factors are sufficiently profound to justify their presentation as a stand-alone paper. They have massive implications for changes in program content and structure so the intent of this paper is to layout the issues and promote wide-ranging discussion that will lead to a community of interest to support all relevant program change initiatives. The authors represent a range of academic, publishing and industry interests but they have a common commitment to understanding the change agents that should drive curriculum planning. It has been a recurring theme at past ASEE conferences 1, 2 and this paper is intended to further stimulate the dialog but more from the perspective of 2-year colleges.

Robertson, J., & Frenzel, L., & Hyder, J., & Lesiecki, M., & McGlew, T. (2008, June), The Technology World Is Changing Rapidly Can Higher Education Match The Pace? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3629

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