Boston University – College of Engineering
ENG EK 131 BX Putting Technology to Work
Module Title: Putting Technology to Work
Instructor: Prof. Jonathan Rosen
Schedule: M-W 10-12 GCB 206 First Class: 1/18/12 Last Class: 2/29/12
Module Description: Engineering has always been about solving problems. But how do engineers decide on which
problems to solve? Our role in our communities, both local and world-wide help us shape that decision process. That is
where “Societal Engineering” comes in. Using your newly minted technical, analytical, and quantitative skills to arrive
at a ‘solution’ is only the beginning of a much longer, challenging, and exciting journey that will turn your ideas into
new products, tools, and processes that will ultimately improve our lives. “Solving the problem” includes
understanding the full impact of the new technology we have created. Making ethanol fuel out of soybeans was
certainly an ‘innovative’ technical, engineering solution to our dependence on oil, but it nearly caused a world-wide
famine in the process!
This module will give you an introduction to how engineers choose which problems to solve, how we work in teams to
bring those ideas to fruition, and how we measure, monitor, and modify the impact of those solutions on our families,
our communities, and our planet.
Class/Lab Schedule: 4 hours lecture per week
Status in the Curriculum: Required, but students can choose two EK 131/2 modules from a menu of modules
Textbook(s) and/or Other Required Material: Chapters in “5 Minds for the Future” by Howard Gardner,
“The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki, “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” by C.K. Prahalad, and “Where
Do Good Ideas Come From” by Steven Johnson will be provided. A Team Simulation will be a required
element of the course. No fee is required.
Prerequisites by topic: none
Module Goals: The goal of this module is to begin your engineering educational journey in a way that will
inspire you to “make meaning” with your technological contributions to society. Through lectures, discussions,
exercises, cases, and simulations, students will explore the process of innovative project design, implementation,
and application of breakthrough technologies.
As an outcome of completing this course, students will:
1) Get an introduction to the technology innovation process.
2) Learn to use basic project management tools including Gantt Charts and Critical Path Analysis
3) Understand the basics of effective multi-disciplinary team creation and management.
4) Develop basic strategies for recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas.
5) Get an introduction to the concept of a Total Product Life Cycle.
Grading Rubric: %
Homework and readings 20
Class Exercises 20
Case Preparation and Participation 20
Simulation and Life Cycle Analysis 15
Final project 25
Your grade will be calculated based on these percentages, but will also reflect your overall commitment to
making this module a valuable and productive experience for you, your classmates, and even for me as your
Basic requirements start with attending every class, doing every assignment, and participating in every class
exercise and presentation. That effort is generally reflected in a grade of B+. If you absolutely cannot make a
class, let me know in advance, and I will try to help you keep up. One excused absence will not detract from
your grade. Missing the Everest Simulation on 2/20 or the final presentation on 2/29 is not a good idea!
To get an outstanding grade (A-), you need to participate actively in every class, support your classmates, and
contribute to the success of the module.
To get a top grade (A), you must amaze us!
Module Outcomes mapped to Program Outcomes:
a b c d e f g h i j k
1,2 1,2 1,2,3 3 1,2,4 4 3,4 all all 2
2 2 5 5 3 5 4 5 3 4 5
(1-5) 1 = not at all 5 = A great deal
a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints
such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and
d) an ability to function on a multi-disciplinary team
e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
g) an ability to communicate effectively
h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic,
environmental, and societal context
i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
j) a knowledge of contemporary issues
k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
Topics (time spent in weeks):
1) Technology Innovation and Design (1.5)
2) Project Management Tools and Techniques (1.0)
3) Team Dynamics and Management (1.5)
4) Impact of Technology on Society (2.0)
5) Resolving Ethical Dilemmas (0.5)
Contribution of Course to Meeting the Professional Component (enter percentage):
Engineering topics: 60%
Basic Science 0%
General Education: 40%