Thursday, September 17, 2009

On a couple of week 4 readings

There is a continuous tone of concern against how classification and categorization is used which I found a little difficult to connect with while reading Bowker and Star. However as they say "To Classify is Human." The very basic manifestation of this is language in which we use words to label things and concept. There is no language in my knowledge which does not have adjectives. I find it interesting that to describe something we compare it with something else. Similalry when we want to compare something with other things we tend to use superlatives for the object that we want to talk about. This I guess is what politics is about. To express your opinion and find support for it. I think there is a politician is all of us and most of what we do is political. It is only that some of us have a greater conviction for our views and have a greater interest and capacity to exert ourselves than others.

While reading Culver and Hackos who have discussed Perry's model in the context of engineering education, what caught my attention is the year it was published, 1982. The paper has clear description of what engineering education is like and how it should be. It took something like 20 or so years that we now have ABET's Engineering Criteria 2000 which require similar kind of attributes in the engineering graduates that Culver and Hackos are asking for. Similarly we now have "Engineer of 2020" program which calls for changes in engineering practice and education. It took us 20 years to reach to this point to have formal realization of what we need to do. I am wondering how much time it will take to bring the change that we are dreaming for. Is 2020 an achievable target to turn the decades or perhaps centuries long built perceptions and habits.

On the other hand as a researcher of engineering education I wonder how soon will we see plateau for the field. We have a few short term targets. But are there any long term targets and can we find some?