LIMITS TO IMPROVING THE FUTURE WITHOUT EDUCATIONAL REFORM OF TECHNOLOGY CURRICULA? ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
American University of Iraq (IRAQ)
Without educational reform in the Universities of Europe; could we be heading towards a technological future which is an evolutionary dead-end? Engineering related scientific discoveries and technological advances usually come about by a combination and coalescing of many different areas of research and technology without recourse to much discussion of their social impact (unlike their counterparts in the medical professions). As scientists and engineers we look ever more closely for the details but forget the larger picture, we look for the conjunction of those components we understand but not of those we do not. This is a result of our education and training and it may have far reaching and unwanted consequences.
Our future as a society is often characterised as one where all of us will be active learners, reliant upon ever superior tools and technologies. Yet could there be a different scenario? Not all of us wish to be active learners. Not all of us have the talent to be artists or musicians. Most of us have little education in these areas because we follow a narrowly based curriculum model. Could we reach a sudden point of collapse in our society due to arriving at a technologically driven evolutionary dead-end? The paper examines the likelihood of such a scenario and proposes an approach to curriculum design which will help us continue to seek a bright future without limits.
This paper explores the need to rethink our educational strategy to encourage a wider view. It discusses the lideral arts approach to curriculum as often seen in the USA, where the Humanities are emphasised. Reference is made to the curriculum as viewed from the perspective of an American University in Iraq and the very traditional approach of other Iraqi institutions. In this University, students develop an understanding of society as a whole before moving onto a major subject area such as Business or IT. This leads to a more rounded and a broader view of the place of science and engineering in society. The paper asks and attempts to answer the question; ' should we consider this approach as a way forward and develop our educational framework for engineers of all kinds upon it' ?