Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity and Gender



The basic aim of the course "Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity and Gender" is to broaden the present range of courses and offer students a new format of course with distinct interdisciplinary contents in a diverse and international setting. Thus the course analyses the interrelations between engineering, social practice and (its) culture in the context of gender and diversity. It provides new perspectives and reflects the complex impact of seemingly "weak" social aspects for our everyday learning and working in research, development and engineering practice.
The whole course is a collaboration between the GDI of RWTH Aachen University and the School of Engineering of Stanford University, CA, USA. It comprises three single courses: a (1) "Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity and Gender – Lecture Part" focusing on literature, text work and discussion, and a practical module "Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity and Gender – In Practice" including a (2) pop-up class "Reshaping Engineering Culture with Design Thinking" in which Design Thinking is taught as a distinguished method for creating innovations, and an (3) application-oriented course "Discovering Innovation – Project Work Beyond Engineering" in which students apply what they learned in project work and develop own solutions for problems of concrete application cases. As all three courses are conducted together with Stanford University, they all comprise students of both universities and guarantee an international learning experience.

The course "Expanding Engineering Limits: Culture, Diversity and Gender – Lecture Part" gives an introduction to selected literature and gives engineering students basic but also further knowledge in terms of gender and diversity approaches, social practice, and engineering culture. Combined with speeches of guest speakers in Aachen and Stanford the students should gain insights about a variety of related questions and topics: How does culture shape and impact engineering? We set a particular focus on cultural aspects of gender and diversity which have a considerable impact and select, who becomes an engineer, which kind of tasks are selected to work on, as well as the way and the quality of developed solutions, designs, technologies, and products. As the course wants to integrate its participants we will not only have text but also group works and give room for discussions and the exchange of different views and ideas across the Atlantic.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding: Students are able to define and compare terms and concepts in the field of gender, sex and diversity and can identify examples in different contexts. They can explain the concept of disciplinary cultures and can undertake intercultural comparisons between different engineering cultures. They can describe particular concepts and approaches of culture, social practice, processes of inclusion, exclusion and discrimination in selected contexts. Students are able to analyse the concept of intersectionality in women’s and men’s experiences in engineering cultures as well as common assumptions and stereotypes about engineering and sex/gender differences. They are able to exploit scientific texts and other literature in text work on their own as well as in group work. They are able to reproduce and interpret their contents, and can deduce main insights.

Application & Transfer: Students can transfer their acquired knowledge and learning insights to other contexts and are able to identify them in new contexts, especially in engineering. They are able to develop and express own opinions and ideas, verbalise and reflect it in discussions. Students can also concretise and explicate them in oral presentations as well as in written elaborations on a basic level.

Reflection & Evaluation: Students are able to reflect and evaluate their acquired knowledge and learning insights. They can identify, analyse and evaluate gender and diversity perspectives in engineering. They can also envision new engineering processes, practices and cultures, which reflect new or expanded perspectives on gender, diversity and culture."

Language of Instruction: English
Type: Lecture