Engineers frequently encounter sociotechnical issues in their work, so it is critical that they are prepared to address complex, real-world issues that require both technical and social expertise. Engineering accreditation criteria further underscore the importance of understanding sociotechnical issues by expecting engineering undergraduate programs to address ethical, global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic considerations in student outcomes. However, most engineering instructors were educated with a deep technical focus, have little experience outside of engineering, and feel ill-equipped to integrate non-technical topics. As a result, engineering is often taught in the undergraduate curricula from a purely technical perspective, with an emphasis on calculations and mathematical modelling, and without mention of social issues. In this paper, we outline a new project to help engineering instructors integrate sociotechnical issues into their classrooms. Applying proven principles of backward course design and working with a team of electrical engineering graduate students, we aim to develop and test several sociotechnical modules for the Introduction to Circuits course. Each module will be linked to technical topics addressed in the course, and each will emphasize a different social issue. We will prepare detailed teaching guides so instructors can easily use the modules in their own contexts, and we will assess the effectiveness of the modules.
Finelli, C., & Lord, S. (2023). Integrating Sociotechnical Issues In The Introduction To Circuits Course. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/2C7Z-7398
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