Engineering and Technology in Society

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ENGR 1100
Engineering and Technology in Society
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4.0 hours/week
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities
  • Lectures
  • In class group discussion
  • In class case study analysis
  • Group Projects
  • Poster presentations
  • Possible online Assignments and Discussion
Course Description
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the practice of engineering, surveying its history and its current state. The social and political aspects of engineering decisions will be illustrated by a number of case studies.
Course Content

Students will explore the history and current state of engineering practice by analyzing engineering project case studies such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Roman Aqueducts, the Great Wall of China, the Panama canal, and the Three Gorges dam.

The afore listed case study analysis will strongly emphasize the ethical, social and political aspects of engineering projects. 

As well, students will be expected to analyze present day projects such as the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the BC Hydro Site C dam.

Learning Outcomes

After taking this course, the student will be able to:

  • Analyze major engineering projects in terms of key resources such as cost, labour, and implementation time.
  • Analyze major engineering projects in terms of societal benefits, and detriments.
  • Identify, current and historical, key engineering projects, devices, and inventions.
  • Identify, current and historical, key figures involved with engineering projects, devices, and inventions.
  • Demonstrate how to apply general scientific principles such as the laws of thermodynamics, and conservation of energy to situational and mathematical problems.
  • Apply scientific principles to debunk ‘junk’ science and engineering myths such as perpetual motion.


Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:

Research Paper: 30% - 40%

Project with subsequent poster presentation: 20% - 30%

In Class Participation and/or group exercise: 10% - 15%

In Class Quizzes: 15% - 30%

Assessment means could include online quizzes and assignments.

Textbook Materials

Students should consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials. The exact textbook and course materials will be decided by the course instructor.  They will be similar to: 

  • "The Betterment of the Human Condition" by John D. Jones, current edition
  • "The Ancient Engineers" by L. Sprague De Camp, 1995 edition
  • "Engineer's Toolkit: A First Course in Engineering" by Carl Mitcham, and Shannon Duval, current edition
  • "Engineers withing a Local and Global Society" by Caroline Baillie
  • "To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design" by Henry Petroski, current edition

ENGL 1130 or CMNS 1135 must be completed prior to OR at the same time as this course.



Which Prerequisite