Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16
The course aims to help the student understand how technological changes of the past have influenced subsequent social development and how social attitudes of the past have provided drivers and inhibitors of technological advance. The student will then be able to apply their understanding of these interactions to the analysis of modern society so as to identify and address threats and opportunities presented by technological change.
A variety of “fearsome engines” are studied from both the technological and social standpoints and provide students with examples of the process of technological development. The course is continuously assessed and includes student presentations.
|Session||First Sub Session||Credit Points||15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)|
The course consists of selected topics (a list of possible topics is shown below) delivered over 12 weeks.
The historical development of materials and their use
Internal combustion engines
Autonomous vehicles (including AI)
Engineering the Underground
Arms and Armour
The inventions of Leonardo da Vinci
A broad definition of “engine” is adopted: an engine is essentially a mechanical contrivance consisting of several parts working together. Each will be accompanied by an illustration of why social and economic context is important (such as the rise of motorisation following the invention of the internal combustion engine). Contributing lecturers choose the topic of greatest personal interest and deliver an in depth study. Tuition in presentation skills will also be offered.
The subject matter covers aspects of engineering (how the engine works) and historical (social and political impact of the invention or activity). Topics will be designed to be independent, while avoiding duplication. This will ensure adequate flexibility whilst also allowing contributors to relate to topics of current interest. Each semester the topics to be delivered will be selected taking account of availability and workload of the contributing lecturers.
Students will be given the opportunity to work in groups to produce presentations on either how a 19th / early 20th century invention transformed the world or on what the most significant fearsome engine of the 21st century is likely to be – you choose the topic.
This course is only available to students registered in Programme Years 1 and 2. Attendance at sixth century courses is compulsory. Students who do not attend all classes (including lectures) for a sixth century course, without exceptional cause, will not pass the engagement component of the course and will therefore fail the course.
This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.
Element 1: In-session assessment of workshop/practical activity and student engagement with the material, including their engagement with the student assessments and participation in group presentations. Presentations will be assessed by peer feedback. The student must pass this element. (10%)
Element 2: A two-sided handbill (such as are handed out on the street) and an eight page brochure intended to serve as a teaching aid. (42%)
Element 3: 2 briefing documents or similar written work (one a 1000 word technical briefing note linked to the topic of the group presentation; the other a 500 word policy briefing document to a key decision maker such as an MP or MSP). (48%)
Students who fail the engagement element MAY be offered a viva at the discretion of the course co-ordinator. Failure to adequately attend and engage in the work of the course will result in failure of the course.
For students failing the written elements and posters an extended essay applying the skills acquired during the course to a topic will be allocated by one of the tutors (100%).
The feedback from the poster and first briefing document will help the student improve their performance for the second round of assessments. Peer assessment of the group presentations will help improve presentation skills.
Tutor feedback will be provided in writing, and verbally during the workshop/practical sessions, in the usual manner and via written feedback to all written assignments. Assignments are submitted and assessed via MyAberdeen.
Peer assessment will be provided for the group presentations.