Document Type


Publication Date

June 2010

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

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non-engineering students, technological literacy


Engineering | Engineering Education


As citizens, we are confronted by many global and national issues such as the dangers of greenhouse gases and the best choices for energy sources. These questions are fundamentally technical in nature and many people feel ill-equipped to understand the variety of claims and counterclaims as to what is “the truth” on these and other important scientific issues. For many people, the reaction is to give up and accept that the modern world is too complex to understand. To address these issues and improve technological literacy, the College of Engineering (CoE) at San José State University (SJSU) has implemented a new lower division physical science General Education (GE) course for the university--Engineering 5, Science of High Technology. Engr 5 was designed for non-engineering students. Many of the technologies discussed in this class are ones that students naturally wonder about. We cover electronic technologies and show the student the science behind these technologies. In this way, students use real objects (such as portable audio players or microwave ovens) to discuss physical concepts. This course serves two purposes: to increase the technological literary of undergraduate students, allowing them to become more effective and engaged citizens; and to provide knowledge about these technologies to non-engineering students who will work for technology companies in the Silicon Valley after graduating from SJSU.


© 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. This article originally appeared in the proceedings of the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference, and can also be found online at this link.
Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.