June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
In the last decade, there have been several efforts from engineering faculty to include social justice and socio-technical thinking in the engineering curriculum. For example, Leydens and Lucena report several examples of courses at different universities that aim to make social justice more visible in the engineering curriculum 1. Creating new courses and adding modules to existing ones can be extremely valuable interventions. However, making social-technical thinking an integral part of existing technical courses is also a necessary approach to reduce the perception that “social” issues are not equally valued in the engineering 1,2. The efficacy of such efforts has not been widely tested. This paper builds on our analysis of an effort to incorporate socio-technical systems thinking into a required civil and environmental engineering sophomore level course to test whether such interventions effectively bridge the socio-technical divide in engineering curriculum 3. Our previous study found that class activities spurred more reflection on social factors that influence technological development, increased awareness of stakeholder diversity, and encouraged appreciation of socio-technical system complexity. While the initial analysis detected an increased level of second-order socio-technical thinking, it didn’t systematically consider the specific socio-political content of student responses to the activities. Our current analysis employs open coding of student work to evaluate if, when, and how students are able to transcend instrumental socio-technical systems thinking about technology, which narrowly defines social relationships with technology in terms of first-order efficiency and productivity outcomes 4,5. These sorts of outcomes are perceived as value-free and depoliticized, thus rhetoric that comfortably fits into the practice of engineering 6.
Andrade, N., & Tomblin, D. (2019, June), What Are They Talking About? Depth of Engineering Student Sociotechnical Thinking in a Technical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33551
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: © 2019 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