Engineering Education between Science and Practice: Rethinking the Historiography

TitleEngineering Education between Science and Practice: Rethinking the Historiography
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsHarwood, J.
Secondary TitleHistory and Technology
Abstract

The literature on 19th and early 20th century engineering education reveals two quite general phenomena: in several countries (a) curricula have varied widely among engineering colleges with some of them strongly ’science-oriented’ while others were more ’practice-oriented’; and (b) at certain times and places the curriculum has tended to shift away from ’practice’ and toward ’science’ (a process sometimes known as ’academic drift’). In this paper I show that relatively little attempt has yet been made to account for either phenomenon. After reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the literatures on the USA, Germany, Britain and to a lesser extent France, I argue that comparative analysis is essential in order to develop a general understanding of the dynamics of the system of higher engineering education. An example of how this might be done is taken from my recent study of German agricultural colleges.

URLhttp://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content db=all content=a741530076