Philosophical and Educational Perspectives on Engineering and Technological Literacy, III

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Blake, John
Cheville, Alan
Disney, Kate
Frezza, Stephen
Heywood, John
Hilgarth, Carl
Krupczak, John
Libros, Randy
Walk, Steven
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Mina, Mani
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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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This is the third Handbook produced by members of The Technological and Engineering Literacy/ Philosophy Division (TELPHE) of The American Society for Engineering Education. The common theme is the curriculum (formal and hidden) and its discontents.

The publication of Engineers of Jihad by Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog (Princeton, 2016) caused much discussion in ASEE and in particular among members of TELPHE, and led to a panel discussion at the annual conference. Stephen Frezza a contributor to the previous Handbooks opens this issue with his response to the view that the engineering curriculum reinforces the mind-set that drives a person to commit terrorist acts. A key question is, “what response should those in engaged in the teaching of technological and engineering literacy have to these criticisms of the curriculum?”

One of the reasons for embracing philosophy in the work of the Division was that apart from the fact that this growing field of interest had no home, any reform of the curriculum had to begin with a fundamental discussion of the philosophy(ies) on which the curriculum is grounded. This is illustrated by Mani Mina who shows that if the philosophy of John Dewey is followed it leads to an entirely different attitude to what the curriculum should achieve as well as to inquiry base student centred teaching. Cheville continues his efforts to demonstrate the value of John Macmurray’s philosophy to this debate in particular his analysis of personal relationships, a matter that is held to be of some importance by those investigate the causes of terrorism.

The philosophy of the curriculum depends of clarity of terms. For this reason, with the permission of ASEE, the divisions report on technological and engineering literacy which was given at the 2011 annual conference is reprinted. It is followed by a case study of an organization in the aircraft industry that attempts to link the understanding of technology with learning-how-to-learn now considered to be an important goal in higher education.


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