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Course A.1: Making the case for a critical global engineer

Academic Coordinator

Dr. Alejandra Boni, professor at the Universitat Politècnica de València

Course Overview

By its very nature, engineering is bound to society and human development. It seeks to solve complex problems using scientific knowledge and practical experience. Nonetheless, different factors in engineering problems - complexity, interdependence, the rapid advancement of technology, among others – have resulted in an engineering profession focused primarily on the technical. However, contemporary global issues (such as climate change and extreme poverty) are problems with engineering dimensions that require a more holistic approach to address.  

A new step forward is required in how we view engineers and the profession of engineering. This course provides participants with an introduction to what is meant by the “global dimension” in engineering. It starts by discussing the relationship between science, technology, and society (STS) from practical and theoretical perspectives, which will prepare participants to critically assess the current state of the engineering profession from an international point-of-view. The course will then focus on engineering for development; specifically the link between technology and basic human needs. The participant will finish the course with a broader understanding of the ethical and social responsibilities of an engineer. 

It should take approximately 20-25 hours to complete, including readings, assignments and activities. 

Learning Outcomes

1. Compare and contrast historical and contemporary views on engineering for development, applying relevant STS theories. 

2. Construct a set of guidelines or standards governing the social responsibility of engineers in professional practice. 

3. Identify relationships between technology and society, both in theory and practice.