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Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering

also relevant for: Industrial Engineering (sub-area electrical engineering)

Course: Electrical Engineering , Information Engineering , Industrial Engineering (sub-area electrical engineering)
Group of courses: Engineering


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Course objectives:

Students should be taught the basic theories and empirical findings of subject-related women's and gender studies. They should recognise the significance of the category gender particularly with regard to theory of design and user interfaces and be able to involve this aspect in their planning work. Students should be made aware of the different approaches and needs that occur during problem-solving, and learn how to recognise the advantages and disadvantages of single-sex, mixed and intercultural (study/work) groups.

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Teaching content/subject-specific gender studies content:

The requirements placed on engineers are becoming increasingly varied. Not only do they have to think about what the product they are developing is supposed to do, they also have to bear in mind during production what an acceptable price for the end product will be, given its area of application. On top of this, they have to be capable of presenting their development to the public for consultation. Engineers have to react to customer requirements in order to ensure financial success, particularly in application-oriented product development. Students should therefore learn that it is important to consider the target customer segment even at development stage and that the number of women taking decisions and making investments is constantly increasing. Women and men often have different approaches to problems and contribute differing solutions and creative ideas. Aside from this, the two groups tend to focus on different functionalities.

The curriculum as a whole can profit from the fact that women are more interested in cross-disciplinary, combined and interdisciplinary approaches.

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Integration of gender studies content into the curriculum:

A gender module can only be realised as part of the initial degree period, as the subject field is highly diversified at later stages. It would also make sense to integrate gender aspects into existing teaching modules, to enhance holistic thinking. The most suitable courses are those dealing with product development in the broadest sense (hardware and software) and theory of design. Gender issues can also be integrated as an additional perspective at the end of any teaching session that does not deal solely with theory.

Faculty members should take gender issues into account when planning their lectures and seminars, making sure they use both male and female forms of address and avoiding examples and illustrations with only men in them. Particularly in examples and illustrations, it is important that men and women are not only shown in gender-typical roles, but consciously used to challenge the general perception.

As the previous point implies, students should also be taught during their degrees how to work successfully in groups especially mixed groups from the point of view of gender and culture.

Holistic thinking can be supported by interdisciplinary modules or courses that combine different areas within the degree. One example is the project seminar, a setup in which students learn cross-course content along with group work, project management and practical skills. The project seminar should start with a unit on gender using specific examples from electrical engineering, which should then be put into practice during the rest of the class.

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Degree Stage:

The above content should be taught in the first half of Bachelor's degrees. It can be returned to in (international) Master's courses, with an additional element of internationalisation and intercultural collaboration.