Global Perspectives on Engineering - Submitted Manuscripts
Manuscripts (Available for Public Viewing)
- Posted on this page, with the authors' permission, are the abstracts, precis, and any additional material submitted by the participants for the workshop. (Click on the buttons to the right of the abstract to access.)
- All material posted on this site are to be considered pre-publication works-in-progress and may be removed at the request of the author(s) as their work approaches formal publication.
- Please DO NOT QUOTE OR CITE this material without the permission of the author(s).
and other docs
Session I: Engineering and Global Development
Moving Companies: How U.S. Engineering Consulting Firms Created the Global Assembly Line, 1949-1969
Eda Kranakis (U Ottawa)
Leading studies of globalization treat the emergence of the global assembly line as a spontaneous, self-organizing process driven by market forces and technological change (transportation and communications). In fact, however, the process has been deliberately planned and carefully engineered to a much greater extent than has been acknowledged, and American engineering consulting firms played a dominant role in designing this transformation. Using government documents and archival collections, this paper will analyze, in particular, the role of Arthur D. Little in designing the key template of globalized production: the export processing zone (EPZ), or maquiladora (as it is known in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America). It is fair to say that the Arthur D. Little Company “invented” the maquiladora, extending ideas from earlier consulting work the company did in Puerto Rico. The Arthur D. Little Company (together with other key engineering consulting firms, such as the Stanford Research Institute) also played a key role in diffusing this new production model to the rest of the world and in encouraging and helping American firms to relocate. (Today, according to International Labor Office statistics, there are some 3,500 EPZs distributed among 130 countries employing more than 66 million workers.) The aim of the paper is to explain the key components of this innovation and to show how and why, following U.S. foreign policy aims, American engineering consulting firms came to play such a strategic role in the globalization of production.
FIRST READER: Grossman; SECOND READER: Nebeker
Developing Technologies of Development Technology: Framing US Engineering Projects in Honduras and Nicaragua in the Context of US Engineering Education
Park Doing (Cornell University)
This paper follows two engineering projects pursued by US Engineering professors and students in collaboration with the national organization, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Cornell University. The paper follows accounts of the nature and effects of a gravity fed water filtration system in Honduras and solar oven use in Nicaragua given by the US engineers (to US audiences) and by the Honduran and Nicaraguan community members who operate the technologies. The paper brings out how each of the groups involved promotes the technologies as ‘technological’ and requiring of technological expertise. This expertise is provided, in the accounts, by both the US and Honduran and Nicaraguan community members. Accounts of the technologies as technological agents of change, then, are seen in light of political negotiations among each groups’ respective community. ‘Development’ is used in narratively different ways by the different groups involved to their own purposes, bringing the concept as a principle into question.
FIRST READER: McLoughlin; SECOND READERS: Faucheux, Forest
Capital Mediation: Mining Engineers and the Development of the U.S./Mexico Borderland
Sarah Grossman (University of New Mexico)
This paper examines the role of mining engineers in orchestrating the expansion of American capital through the southwestern U.S. and into the northern Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua. Through close study of three mining engineers who worked in the borderlands region in the late nineteenth century: Raphael Pumpelly, Louis Janin, and Morris Parker, this paper explores the tension between the role of mining engineers as expert consultants and their role as a conduit for capital. Although mining engineers were hired on the basis of their technical expertise, their value to an employer was often contingent upon other skills, such as the ability to speak Spanish, or to befriend local power brokers and facilitate labor relations and logistical negotiations. By looking at engineers who worked in the borderlands at three different times: Pumpelly in the 1860s, Janin in the 1880s, and Parker at the turn of the century, this paper highlights how the changing profession of mining engineering had an impact on the expansion of U.S. economic and social influence in the southwestern territories and across the border into Mexico. As American citizens living in a world of transnational business, mining engineers were crucial mediators of the expansion of American capital throughout North America.
FIRST READER: Jorgensen; SECOND READERS: Luegenbiehl, Roca-Rosell
Knowledge, engineering practice and urban transportation projects
Andrés Valderrama Pineda (Technical University of Denmark)
In 2000 a new Bus Rapid Transit began serving the city of Bogotá. The new transportation system is regarded as a major innovation in transport given the capacity of the system, the low cost of design and operation, and the fact that it only took three years to conceive, develop and start operating the system. In 2002 a new Metro line began serving the eastern part of Copenhagen. The service was provided by a rail system with fully automated trains running in very short intervals of time. The project is regarded as a major innovation because it is the first urban transportation system fully operative with no driver and no steward on board of the trains. How was the knowledge for the development of these systems constructed? Who took responsibility for the process? What was taken into account (i.e. what counted as knowledge and to certain extent, who counted as a valid source of knowledge)? What was left out (i.e. who was left out in terms of knowledge)? Based on recent developments on the study of engineering firms, action groups and academic research teams (for example, Dominique Vinck), this article explores the ways in which engineers, managers and designers build, validate and use knowledge for the development of urban transportation projects. This article is part of a PhD research that aims at analysing the design decisions of the Metro in Copenhagen and Transmilenio in Bogotá in order to construct a design perspective on shaping technical systems.
FIRST READER: Ettouney; SECOND READER: Kranakis
Indian Mysorean Rocket: Factors for Developing the Industry of World's First Self-Propelled Rocket
H. M. Iftekhar Jaim (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) and Jasmine Jaim (Eastern University, Bangladesh)
The battle field strategy ornamented with self-propelled rocket changed the course of history in the nineteenth century. The Congreve Rocket of the British led to the success of the Nepoleonic War and the War against US (1812-14). However, the first self-propelled rocket that is known as Mysorean Rocket or Indian War Rocket was introduced by Tipu Sultan, ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, India. Not only for the destructive nature, but also for the geographical factors there was necessity of such a weapon in that politically vulnerable region. With the implementation of scientific method on captured Indian rockets, the British developed Congreve rocket; but still these Indian rockets were considered to be the best rockets in the world (Nature, Volume 400). Interestingly, it was not the scientist but the local artisans who held the credit for developing this splendid technology with their outstanding designing and metallurgical skills. The profound industrial background of steel and gunpowder, two major ingredients of war rocket contributed greatly to emerge this technology. In addition, the encouragement of Tipu Sultan (called as ‘Technology Buff’) aided with his military fiscal policy facilitated this industry. However, due to the non-scientific approach and caste based social system of the artisans this technology became extinct.
FIRST READER: Clark; SECOND READER: Diogo
Session II: Engineering Identities
Student Identity in Interdisciplinary Engineering Design
Lisa McLoughlin (Greenfield Community College)
Once viewed as the haven of narrowly- mathematically-focused introverts, engineering re-defined as a form of social service, or at least as part of the social fabric of our society, has the potential to attract strong students from a wider variety of backgrounds. But does it? As engineering education in the U.S. incorporates more social context into its definition of design (as Europe has done historically), it would seem to expand the population of students to whom engineering appears attractive. While research shows that these non-traditional engineering students succeed in engineering programs, attracting them remains a puzzle. Interdisciplinary introductory courses are one approach to increasing the number and variety of students who consider the engineering profession. This presentation discusses engineering student identity and success in one such class cross-listed for engineers and non-engineers at a small community college. This case study, drawing on gender-based identity research, suggests how integrating the humanities might affect not only the number and diversity of potential engineers, but also their approaches to engineering design, and how those approaches do or do not reflect the trend toward the inclusion of social context and the liberal arts.
FIRST READER: Johnson; SECOND READER: Bissell
A New Field for Some, or A New Approach for All?: U.S. Environmental Engineering Education and the Redefinition of Environment
Jongmin Lee (Virginia Tech)
In the 1960s engineers were identified as embodied agents of environmental degradation. To save the public from thinking technology would lead to a catastrophic demise, some engineers wanted to show the validity of technical solutions to environmental problems. A challenging test on their competence was also a chance to extend their territories of expertise. Other engineers took this challenge more seriously and proposed to redirect engineering education in awareness of the limitation of the growth. In this presentation, I will focus on the redefinition of environment and engineering by U.S. environmental engineers in the 1960s and 1970s. Particularly I will look at the organizational and educational changes in and around the American Society of Civil Engineers. To pursue this project, I will first refer to American Society of Civil Engineers, American Academy of Environmental Engineers, and American Society of Engineering Education, and their publications during the period. Then to study the redefinition of environment and engineering, I will review the 1960s’ and 1970s’ academic and professional publications.
Sanitary engineers initiated the institutionalization of environmental engineering. Professors and consulting engineers redefined their specialty as "environmental engineering", and a separate, devoted journal was established and renamed as the Journal of Environmental Engineering Division. An umbrella organization for certification, American Sanitary Engineering Intersociety Board was founded and expanded. As environmental engineering became more institutionalized, it also became closer to traditional engineering disciplines. Two conferences co-organized by certification board and professors' organization in 1967 and 1973 show the change. Curricular emphasis shifted from basic science and engineering to more specialized engineering subdisciplines. In response to this trend, "ecological engineering" was suggested by Howard T. Odum as more sustainable engineering. The idea of "environment in engineering education" was revitalized to emphasize the universal character of engineering and environmental studies. This idea also tried to facilitate ... (view more)
FIRST READER: Nebeker; SECOND READER: Grossman, J. Jaim
Science Fiction Fandom, Geek Culture, and the Image of the Engineer
Mark Clark (Oregon Institute of Technology)
What is a Slan? Raised in secret, possessed of great mental powers, Slans have to hide their identities from ordinary humans. Slans are a product of evolution – they are man’s replacements, and men are not willing to be replaced. They hunt Slans mercilessly, and only the superior nature of Slans allows them to survive and look forward to the day that they will prevail.
Slans are described in the novel "Slan" by the noted science fiction author A. E. van Vogt, and are clearly metaphors for the science fiction fan himself. Science fiction fans in the 1930s and 1940s thought of themselves as superior beings, in touch with the future and more technologically literate than anyone else. They felt that they should be in charge, and resented the fact that they were seen as juvenile readers of juvenile literature, trapped in a genre that literary critics sneered at. In response, they organized themselves, and waited for their chance to replace ordinary humans.
Historians of engineering, particularly in the United States, have focused on professionalization as the primary measure of self-perception. In works like Edwin Layton’s Revolt of the Engineers and David Noble’s America By Design, engineering professional societies are described as the venue where the struggle between corporate values and broader social responsibility took place. Were engineers to be mere servants of business, or independent professionals in the mode of doctors and lawyers? How these struggles played out, that is, how “professional” engineering societies became, defined the place of the engineer in society as a whole. The social image of the engineer was assumed to reflect his professional status.
This paper seeks to widen the discussion of engineering identity to include other groups that played a role in shaping how engineers saw their place in the world. It argues that... (view more)
FIRST READER: H.M. I. Jaim; SECOND READER: Akera
Engineering America: National Identity and the Mathematization of Nature, 1789-1870
Ann Johnson (University of South Carolina)
In the project proposed here, I look at the way engineering was mathematized in antebellum America and the nature of the nascent and evolving community that developed and disseminated these new practices. While much has been written on the institutionalization and mathematization of engineering in 18th century France, far less attention has been paid to the development of engineering institutions and methods in other places. The unasked questions about how engineering became mathematical in various places stem from an underlying assumption that somehow the mathematization of engineering was a ‘natural’ development. In fact mathematization took a variety of different paths and was anything but inevitable. The central problematic in this project is to determine how engineers in 18th and 19th century America developed unique mathematical practices, why they did so, and to show the institutional resources were used and created in the process. However, this is not a narrow study of engineering mathematics; instead, questions about mathematization open up a broader inquiry about the work antebellum engineers were doing and the role of engineers in the development of the nation. The political, legal, religious, ethnic and gender, educational and economic dimensions of nation building were neither separate nor separable from the development of American engineering practices and culture.
The structure of this project is heavily narrative and dependent upon the voluminous writings of the engineers who populate this story, from to published articles to field notebooks to state records to personal letters. Material culture, from handbooks to scientific instruments, and the landscape also play important evidentiary roles. The narrative begins with an examination of engineering in the 18th century, and here I examine the convergence of French and British modes of engineering in the American environment. I pay particular attention to the political implications of emulating French institutions in America ... (view more)
FIRST READER: Luegenbiehl; SECOND READER: Clark, Puig-Pla
’Mixed’ mathematics and engineering in XVIIIth Century Spain. The Mathematical Course of Pedro Lucece.
M. Rosa Massa-Esteve, Carles Puig-Pla, Antoni Roca-Rosell (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya)
Engineering in Spain developed as a scientific profession during the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the idea of combining theory and practice was forged in the eighteenth century as a result of several influences. The experience of the French schools was very significant, but it exerted less influence than is usually believed. Our paper is focused on the activity of the Military Academy of Mathematics of Barcelona. Founded in 1720, the aim of the Academy was to supply knowledge in Mathematics to young and experienced officers: engineers, artillery officers, and also naval officers. In 1739, a Royal Ordinance established a general course of Mathematics, which was prepared by the teachers under the supervision of Pedro Lucuce, the Director. This course is preserved in a number of manuscripts, each one 2.000 pages long, written by different students at the Barcelona Academy, and at two other centres in Oran and Ceuta. The course consists of eight treatises on the main fields of Mathematics, including “pure” mathematics, and “mixed” mathematics. An analysis of the content of the course of Pedro Lucuce could shed light on a number of details concerning the training of military engineers. The course of Lucuce must be compared with the treatises of Mathematics published in France and in Spain since the seventeenth century. Moreover, the content of the course should not only be analysed for its innovations but also for its main objective, which was to train military engineers and artillery officers.
Our present research on the Military Academy of Mathematics of Barcelona wish to analyse the antecedents of engineering in Barcelona and Spain. Despite the fact that the Academy was a military centre, many authors consider that it would influence on civil society. Our previous research has focused on engineering in Catalonia and we would like to study its origins.
FIRST READER: Diogo; SECOND READER: Williams, de Matos
Session III: Engineering and the Public Sphere
The Greek Engineers in the Postwar Period: Technology, Economic Development, and Political Conflict (CANCELLED)
Dr. Yiannis Antoniou (Hellenic Open University)
**** CANCELLED *****
This paper is an account about Greek engineers and the plans for economic and technological development in the post war Greece during the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s.
The first months, after the liberation from the Nazi occupation, a strong consensus seemed to be sovereign about the necessity and possibilities for a rapid industrialization of the country. It was the first time that all the political parties included in their programs the aim of the industrial development, presenting it as the main ingredient for the post war reconstruction of Greece. The technology issue came to be organic part of the strong political conflict of the period. The consensus will be split during the civil war era, 1946-1949, between the Left and the Right. In the beginning of the 1950s, in the context of the new juncture, stamped by the victory of the Right and the sovereignty Cold War ideas and geopolitics, the technology issue continued to be a crucial part of the political conflict between the two adversary factions.
I argue that the Greek engineers were the protagonists of this adventurous trajectory of ideas about technology and industrial development. They actually translated the political passions of the time to projects of technological development, contributing to a kind of technological enrichment of the political agenda, as well as to the emergence of an image of co-production of society and technology, irrespectively of their communist, liberal or rightist political convictions. Doing so, they projected their old passion for rationalization of everything, claiming a new hegemony in society and politics.
Public Perception of Engineering through the Media: The First Portuguese Engineering Meeting
Maria Paula Diogo (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), and
Ana Cardoso de Matos (Universidade de Évora)
The popularization of science and technology is usually associated with books and journals. In this paper we explore a less common tool in the study of popularization of technology, the engineering meetings. In 1931, at a turning point in its internal organization, Portuguese engineers met for the first time in a national congress. Besides the obvious intention of asserting their professional identity, the I National Engineering Meeting, explicitly aimed at publicizing the work of Portuguese engineers as key players in the progress and wealth of the country. A considerable number of engineers (357) attended the I National Engineering Meeting, as well as representatives of governmental agencies, entrepreneurs from a variety of industrial and technical areas, the press and the general public interested in the engineering world.
The idea of using the meeting as a showcase for displaying the “power” of Portuguese engineering becomes clearer when one considers not only the five sections (Building and Public Works, Geology and Mines, Industrial Chemistry and Metallurgy, Mechanics and Electricity) and the papers delivered, a significant number of which had a popularization agenda, but also the so-called “social programme”, which included a photographic exhibition featuring engineering “works of art”, a set of conferences on engineering themes addressed to a general audience, and visits to some relevant factories.In this paper we try to disclose the public dimension of the I National Engineering Meeting, both in terms of the contents of the meeting, and the way it was portrayed by the press.
FIRST READER: Massa-Esteve; SECOND READERS: Ettouney, Forest
Khedives, Railways, and the Renaissance of Modern Egypt
Osama Ettouney (Miami University, Ohio)
At the later part of the 19th century, railways became the basic means of transportation in Egypt. Plans for Egyptian Railways started in 1851, and the first train line ran in 1854. It was the first in Africa and the Near East and ranked number 25 in the order of countries to have railway operations. By 1875, there were about 1,537 km of railway in Egypt, which corresponds to about 3,165 sq. km of territory to each km. of line.
Between 1852 and 1882 (when the British occupied Egypt) the plan was to connect the capitals of the various provinces as well as linking Cairo and Alexandria with their suburbs. Moreover, there were extensions made to workshops, factories, power stations, quarries, mining centers, and ports. In addition, lines were extended to centers of agricultural products, warehouses and supplies centers to transport agriculture crops, including sugar, rice, and cotton, between the various towns surrounding the Nile Delta. In the 1860s, the economic and social progress of the country was attributed greatly to the expansion of the railway. It also proved to be valuable not only for commercial and tourism purposes but also for transporting British troops.
How did it happen so fast in a country that was just coming out of, yet, another cycle of decline and decay, from about the 14th and until the 19th century! These centuries of decline, created an environment of medieval practitioners who still use ancient technology to run day-to-day errands, and the country experienced an arrested stagnation in intellectual, economic, scientific, and technological development, which lasted until the French invaded Egypt in 1798 and triggered the spark and beginning of the Renaissance of modern Egypt! This spark of cultural clash between West and East, introduced Egypt to the European style of modern government, business practices... (view more)
FIRST READER: Akera; SECOND READERS: Doing, J. Jaim
Engineering Design in Theory, Teaching, and Practice—The Construction of Design Synthesis and Methods and Contemporary Challenges
Ulrik Jørgensen (Technical University of Denmark)
During the 1990ies growing problems related to the role of engineering in product and systems design has been recognized and several new educational program have emerged in the US and Europe. All of them including new approaches to engineering design and the knowledge needed to manage the design tasks in industry and in public institutions. This seem to reflect several changes relating to engineering teaching and to new challenges coming from the role and use of technology in society. This could either be seen as another modification in engineering training adjusting engineering knowledge and practices to the need of society or as a much more fundamental crisis in the science orientation and the curriculum development in engineering schools.
While the trend since the 1950ies has been to support engineering tasks with science based theories and methods, this has resulted in what could be characterized as a rather techno-centric approach in engineering design. At the same time this field of engineering has faced severe problems in maintaining its credibility in the engineering curriculum, and has emerged as a field of practice though still fighting for a status a methods and science based discipline. The result has been a development of theories of design (construction) including the definition of synthesis as the specific approach that has lead to a quite substantial development of tools and a large number of papers and articles. The problem of giving content to e.g. synthesis and design methods beyond the more incremental modifications and optimisations has though been serious. Many methods have been developed and presented in papers at engineering design conferences but few have contributed to the understanding of the black-boxed processes of design.
This crisis in engineering design has resulted in new professional groups taking over the core and more radical design tasks in companies... (view more)
FIRST READER: Williams; SECOND READER: Lee, Roca-Rosell
Session IV: Education and Societal Change
The MIT Lewis Survey: Creating a Blueprint for MIT’s Cold War Institutional Identity, 1947-1949
Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
In this paper, I focus on the 1949 MIT Lewis Survey, a document that many consider to have charted MIT’s postwar and Cold War course as a technological institution. Formally known as the Report of the Committee on Educational Survey, this document was produced through the extensive deliberations of a faculty committee involving no less than 119 meetings (including several multi-day retreats). Comprising the committee were Warren K. Lewis, senior faculty and founder of MIT’s Chemical Engineering department; Julius Stratton, the director of MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics; C. Richard Soderberg, a theoretically inclined engineering faculty member; Ronald Robnett, a professor of business administration and the fiscal officer in MIT’s sponsored research office; and John Loofbourow, a biology faculty member and executive officer for his department.
Although their report supposedly focused on ‘education,’ it pursued a whole lot more. The committee had been given a very broad charge, in being asked to define the scope of their study. In the end, the committee came to recommend a ‘four school plan’ that gave greater authority to the academic deans; called for the broadening of MIT’s undergraduate curricula through an increased focus on humanistic study as well as the sciences; advised the administration on the proper relationship between sponsored research and MIT’s graduate and undergraduate programs; proposed a change in the faculty governance structure that would enable better oversight of the undergraduate program; and contributed other fundamental changes in MIT’s administrative structure, including the creation of the Office of the Provost.
The paper is also grounded in a study of practice, with the aim of contributing to a deeper understanding of the process of institutional and educational reform. The paper considers, for instance, the influence of the monumental 1946 Harvard study, General Education in a Free Society, and especially of the procedures... (view more)
FIRST READER: Faucheux; SECOND READER: Massa-Esteve
Teaching and researching engineering in its social context at the UK Open University: past, present and future
Chris Bissell (Open University, UK)
Since the early 1970s many thousands of students have studied engineering / technology at the Open University of the United Kingdom (UKOU). Some of these courses were developed by the Faculty of Technology alone; others were the product of synergy with other faculties. This paper will present examples of both – from the past, present, and the proposed future – but it cannot hope to be representative of the whole range of courses.
Each generation of courses has broken new pedagogical ground, and has enthusiastically engaged with modern educational technology for pedagogical advantage. Course Teams have always exploited a wide range of media – from the printed text, television programs, home experiment kits, and audiovision sessions? in the early days to the CD-ROMs, DVDs, websites, blogs, wikis and computer forums of current courses.
One of the most innovative aspects of the UKOU’s approach to teaching technology was several generations of ‘foundation courses’, designed to bring students without initial qualifications up to first-year level. The final version, a 600 hour course with the deliberately ambiguous title Living with Technology, delivered until the mid 1990s, was centred around various technological ‘issues’: Home, Communication, Energy, Materials, Food, and Health. In these contexts were taught the basics of design, structural engineering, information technology, chemistry, biology, environmental engineering ... as well as an ongoing ‘numeracy’ strand for students who were assumed to know only simple arithmetic with positive numbers. More recent Technology courses that have taken up the challenge of this type of teaching are the 300 hour courses: (i) Networked Living: you, your computer and the Internet, which is an introductory course teaching both ICT fundamentals and also such issues as news gathering, road pricing, healthcare, and identity; and (ii) Keeping Ahead in ICT, a final-year undergraduate course which includes 100 hours devoted to systems thinking, the analysis of ICT failures, and ICTs in the developing world. ...(view more)
FIRST READER: Valderrama-Pineda; SECOND READER: McLoughlin
Teaching the History of Technology to Today’s Students
Frederik Nebeker (IEEE History Center, Rutgers University)
Students today are different from students a generation ago, and we can be more effective as teachers if we take that into account. Because today's students have grown up in fast-paced and stimulating environments, often with several things going on at once, they are not good at receiving and retaining information, no matter how well presented, for the hour or hour and a half that most college classes last. Nor is it necessary, with various printed and online sources, to use the class period mainly for information transfer. It is better to use this time to get the students active in assimilating, analyzing, and building upon the factual and conceptual content of the course. What takes place in the classroom should be more like athletic training, with constant demands on the students'
skills, than a traditional lecture.
By far the most important thing is to get the student intellectually engaged with the past: being more conscious of the things one already knows, relating new things to known ones, noticing more and more things in images, and wondering constantly how the world of the past differed from ours today. The teacher can use the classroom to present material that cannot be in textbooks, such as historical artifacts and demonstrations.
Whenever possible, it is valuable to let the students handle the artifacts, as these can help bring the past to life in their minds. Images often convey understanding of the past more effectively than words, and today it is easy, using a computer projector, to present hundreds of images in a class period. It is also easy to use dozens of film clips, from movies, documentaries, and television programs that show some aspect of the past in motion. Audio from the past is also easy to use in teaching. An especially effective... (view more)
FIRST READER: Bissell; SECOND READERS: H.M. I. Jaim, Puig-Pla
Emergent Areas in Engineering Education Over the Last Two Decades
Bill Williams (Barreiro College of Technology, Setubal Polytechnic Institute, Portugal)
The paper considers two emergent strands in engineering education: the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) and Communities of Practice (CoPs) and it identifies some areas of overlap between the two. The origins of SOTL in engineering education can arguably be traced back to work on Learning Styles of engineering students by Richard Felder in the eighties which in turn led to numerous studies on the value of Active, Collaborative and Problem-based Learning. The learning potential of CoPs was first described by Lave and Wenger in the early nineties and recent work by Wenger extends the approach to consider issues of online Technology Stewardship and Practice-based Learning which could have a significant role to play in the education of future engineering professionals. The paper also briefly describes a current research project at Setubal Polytechnic which aims to use a CoP approach to encourage and disseminate the use of Active Learning techniques by engineering educators.
FIRST READER: Kranakis; SECOND READER: Jorgensen
Thinking Technology in Order to Think Engineering Education
M. Faucheux and J. Forest (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon, France)
Our world, in its step of “hyperindustrialisation”, faces what could be called the paradox of technology. If our world is conceived by technologies, they are neither questioned nor thought. The National Institute of Applied Sciences does not escape from this paradox. Its aim is to educate engineers by teaching them the use and the design of technical tools whereas technology is not a matter of thought : there are not courses in history of technology, in epistemology of technology and the link between science and technology is not questioned.
In the best case, the question of technology is reduced to an ethical point of view and to the question of sustainable development. Usually, theses courses are founded on a common, transparent representation of technology. Technological action and technology seem obvious and are reduced to human productions which are the result of a simple and mechanical application of science.
We think that such a point of view is wrong and dangerous in a context where economical but also academic competition is harder and harder at the national and international level.
The aim of this paper is to point out that “Technology”, in such a context, is an important field of research which aims at thinking technology as a principle and an object of science. This is precisely the epistemological point of view of our laboratory (LEPS-STOICA EA 4148, INSA Lyon)
Indeed, if in the Occidental tradition, technology does not belong to the field of science, on the contrary, we try to define “Technology” as a science of creative rationality. This “Technology” is a way to help us to define a new kind of courses for engineers, a specific scientific formation. Our research work allows becoming aware that education for engineers cannot be the transposition of academic courses as taught in Universities giving a general education. On the contrary, engineers education needs to be shaped in a specific pedagogical way which characterizes engineering universities. Besides, the academic education for engineers needs to encourage creativity among them and, by the way, a pedagogical invention which draws a new cartography of knowledge, using an interdisciplinary approach. Nevertheless, in this paper, we also will show that there is a gap between such a pedagogical project and the academic reality.
FIRST READER: Lee; SECOND READERS: Johnson, de Matos
East Asian Responses to ‘Substantial Equivalency’ in Engineering Education
Heinz Luegenbiehl (Rose Hulman Institute of Technology)
With the signing of the Washington Accord in 1989, which established the notion of substantial equivalency in engineering education, initially among primarily English speaking nations, a slow trend toward international recognition of engineering qualifications was begun. This trend was accelerated with the joint recognition of degrees within the European Union. A third phase of the process was the founding of accreditation agencies for engineering education in various East Asian countries. This paper examines developments in this third phase, and critically evaluates the East Asian approach, through an examination of the assessment criteria for engineering education established in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
While the first two phases of internationalization took a transnational approach, the East Asian response to the trend has been significantly different in that it focused on the establishment of national educational standards. These, however, participated in the process of internationalization by largely harmonizing with the existing U.S. standards as promulgated by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), a privation accreditation organization of U.S. engineering programs. ABET itself encouraged this trend by developing a new category of assessment, the ‘substantial equivalency’ form of semi-accreditation, which over the past few years has been granted to numerous engineering programs throughout the world.
The first part of this paper shows how closely the accreditation agencies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are modeled on ABET, and how the accreditation requirements themselves follow existing U.S. standards. This would seem to be the prudential path, if indeed the main goal of the agencies is to harmonize with ABET requirements and to demonstrate substantial equivalency of their programs to U.S. programs, and to thus continue the trend toward international harmonization of engineering education requirements.
In the second part of the paper it is argued, however, that the emphasis on reflecting the so-called ‘soft skills’ of ABET’s Engineering Criteria (EC) 2000 also has potentially pernicious effects, particularly as they concern value-laden studies. In particular, it fails to recognize the difficulty of transferring a particular values studies approach from one cultural context to another. Politically as well as philosophically, a more fruitful approach would be to begin with a recognition that an independent transnational set of criteria for East Asian nations would be a stronger starting point for further conversations with the existing transnational coalitions. One Japanese attempt for engaging in such a process, as developed by the Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Kanazawa Institute of Technology, is used as an example of how this might be accomplished.
FIRST READER: Doing; SECOND READERS: Valderrama-Pineda