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Importance of teaching the history of technology

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1 Author(s)
Condoor, S. ; Dept. of Aerosp. & Mechanical Eng., Saint Louis Univ., MO, USA

In most engineering courses, students learn concepts, methods and tools. The education community seldom focused its attention on teaching the historical aspects of engineering and technology. As a result, students know very little about famous engineers, case histories, evolution of engineering science and technology, and influence of engineering activity on the society. The reading of engineering case histories emphasize the role of human error/failure in engineering design, the practice of engineering as an art form, and the difference between engineering and scientific activities. Due to the synergy between the product evolution and the product design, case histories can improve student learning in the capstone design courses. The paper presents a unique teaching approach, which backs away from the engineering achievements to the products and people behind the achievements, and then to the thought processes involved in the product design. This teaching approach exposes students to a few key engineering concepts and ties them with case histories. The paper illustrates the teaching paradigm using the case history of typewriters.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2004. FIE 2004. 34th Annual

Date of Conference:

20-23 Oct. 2004

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