ENGGEN 100G Technological Choices for the New Millennium
The rapid development of technology in the 20th century contributed to extremes of power, privilege and poverty, yet the majority of technological choices for our communities are not made by scientists or engineers.
This course considers technological choices to support informed decision-making in the use of technology in modern society. The course focuses on important questions such as: What is the future direction of power generation in New Zealand? How can we create a sustainable future? Where will current developments in robotics and mobile communications lead us?
The aim will be to assist students to make sense of the overload of fact and opinion published on these important, current issues and debates.
This course is for students who recognise that as graduates they will be called on, in their personal and professional lives as teachers, planners, lawyers, business people, politicians and householders, to make decisions on how technology is used. In making those decisions they will balance idealism with technical reality and practicality amidst competing pressures. We welcome a diverse group of students from arts, commerce, law, education and other faculties – to provide stimulating and competing perspectives.
No assumptions will be made regarding scientific or mathematical background.
This course cannot be taken if you have a concurrent or prior enrolment in a course in any of the following subjects: CHEM, CHEMMAT, ENGGEN, GEOG, GEOLOGY or PHYSICS
The learning outcome for this course is to empower students to:
- Have a basic understanding of the theory underpinning technological choices.
- Recognise practicalities of options in terms of resource usage, cost, limitations and risks.
- Recognise influences stemming from political, social, economic, cultural and even religious pressures.
- Gain an understanding of ideas and methods across disciplines.
- Respect the values of other individuals and group.
Content will be grouped around four themes focused by current provocative questions
Is nuclear power the only practical solution to our energy demands?
Should private air travel be taxed?
Will water be the new oil?
Should private cars inside the central city area be banned?
How big should our cities be?
- Information and Communication
Are cell phones safe?
How will faster internet connections impact on the welfare/ standard of living of NZ / global society?
for 2009 – Nanotechnology
How small can, or should, we go?
Topics such as these will be presented in a non technical, but comprehensible way providing a balance of perspectives which differentiate between idealism, fact and practicality, and the competing pressures of politics, economics and social factors.
Two lectures per week and one tutorial session. The tutorial session will usually be structured as an interactive discussion, but may include ‘out of classroom’ experiences eg in a computer laboratory, field trip or demonstration/activity in specialist facilities.
Lecturers will predominantly come from the Faculty of Engineering but to ensure the recognition of a variety of perspectives contributions will be drawn from across disciplines and possibly from the community.
10% Library project
20% Two short written assignments
10% Poster and oral presentation
Readings will be provided where appropriate.
Extensive use will be made of internet links incorporating text, video and animation.
Name: Associate Professor Joe Deans