Whither engineering and technological literacy? Cui bono 2

Heywood, J., Engineering, Unleashed, Ieee, Xplore and Keysight, Technologies (2020) Whither engineering and technological literacy? Cui bono 2. 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020, 2020-J.


At the 2018 Business meeting of the Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy Division (TELPhE) of the American Society for Engineering Education it was agreed that the author would continue to prepare a whitepaper on the future of the Division. As part of his study for the whitepaper the author responded [1] to nine comments in the Division's fourth handbook [2] on a previously published paper by him on Why technological literacy and for whom? [3] The principal axiom drawn from this analysis was that the general aims or purposes of programs in engineering and technological literacy are far from clear, and in so far as they are declared or implicit, are a function of the audience to whom the course or program is directed. In order to better understand the problem a comparative study is made with an innovative curriculum in liberal studies that took place in the UK, as they are roughly analogous. It confirms that any attempt to develop technological literacy as a discipline would require a substantive epistemological base. Without that base technological literacy can only continue to act as an umbrella that allows for content and method to be developed for the audiences to be served. In this respect TELPhE has significantly failed to consider the needs of the general public. It is evident that within the public there are different audiences with diverse needs, as for example, parents, journalists, and teachers. Mathematics is particularly problematic. The mathematics required for technological literacy is briefly considered, and reference made to a case study. At the same time TELPhE has sponsored a number of innovations. Recent work suggests that an alternative curriculum may better meet the needs of a general higher education that is responsive to the changes in society being wrought by technology. Since the models that have been developed require different higher education structures TELPhE might consider initiating a substantive inquiry that answers the question - What structures of higher education do we need to help us live in a technologically dominated society? In order to further the debate within TELPhE three former Chairpersons of the TELPhE division (Carl, Hilgarth, John Krupczak and Mani Mina) offer their comments on the paper in a codicil at the end. © American Society for Engineering Education 2020.

View Item