What is Impacts of Engineering?

Impacts of Engineering is a course offered at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This course was created by Dr. Devin Berg and was first offered in the Fall 2015 semester. The course is intended to both provide an introduction to engineering for students who have declared an engineering major and to provide a glimpse of engineering as a field to non-majors.

The course therefore covers common introductory engineering topics such as design, problem solving, and an introduction to materials while also discussing things such as social responsibility, social justice, ethics, and intellectual property.

The course is officially described as:

A comprehensive study of the engineering design process from initiation to completion. Definition and history of engineering disciplines with comparisons among them. Investigation and exploration of past and present impacts of engineering on people, society, and the environment. Examination of contemporary and emerging issues related to engineering. Introduction to engineering in practice through engineering design projects.

It also has the following stated objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical philosophy of engineering and identify the effects of engineering design decisions throughout history.
  • Describe the various engineering disciplines and the differences between them.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the comprehensive nature of engineering design.
  • Develop a systems perspective regarding the context of engineering design on a global scale.
  • Evaluate the ethical, social, economic, and environmental impacts of engineering during the design, production, and end user phase of a product’s life from multiple perspectives.
  • Synthesize ethically, socially, and environmentally conscious design judgments and decisions.
  • Evaluate trends and future impacts of environmental and social consciousness and globalization on engineering design and manufacturing from multiple perspectives.
  • Demonstrate an experiential understanding of engineering design impacts relevant to the various engineering disciplines.
  • Apply basic calculation procedures and computational tools used in engineering.
  • Apply the engineering design process and employ it to solve real-world issues.

Through these objectives, the course satisfies campus general education requirements with endorsements in Global Perspectives, Contemporary Issues, and Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning.

In addition to the lecture and discussion content of the course, it also includes a significant design project carried out in a laboratory setting. These projects are intended to expose students to the engineering design project while underscoring the importance of consideration for the impacts, direct or indirect, that the engineering design process can have on individuals and communities.

This site will serve as an outlet to report on the activities and outcomes from this course.

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Author: devinberg

Associate Professor of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

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