ASQ - Education Division

Teaching History of Science and Technology at a Polytechnic University

Abstract: The author of this paper is Professor David Seim, UW-Stout. This paper is in the conference proceedings for the ASQ 2012 Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference at UW-Stout, July 16-17, 2012

I teach a survey-level course on History of Science and Technology, which is designed to suit a greatest possible range of student backgrounds and interests. The course aims to maximize student choice, especially with respect to what course elements might most interest each student. Students are encouraged to focus each of their individual attention and learning efforts on whatever subjects they like the most, and this is also how the instructor assesses student effort and learning. One major category of assignments requires each student to prepare his or her own, uniquely-packaged take-home exams with respect to what might have worked well and not so well, within each unit of the course. My overriding intention is for students at a polytechnic university – and especially those students interested in STEM fields – to gain useful historical background to any field of personal interest, as ideally these will be backgrounds capable of helping students in their chosen professional field. My chief desired outcome is to inspire students to consider STEM careers in part by exploring STEM history. My project fits within the research focus area of Higher Education STEM.

Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - Teaching Quality - Student Retention

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