6.933J | Fall 2001 | Graduate

The Structure of Engineering Revolutions


This calendar provides the course’s lecture topics, readings, and assignment due dates. While the first half of the course is focused on lectures, a significant portion of the second half is devoted to in-class group work, where students are divided into groups to work on term projects.

I. Introduction and Background
1 Introduction, Course Overview
II. Engineers in Action
2 Reading: Latour, Bruno. Science in Action. Introduction, and chapter 3, pp. 1-17 and 103-144.
3 Reading: Latour, Bruno. Science in Action. Chapters 4-6, pp. 145-259.
III. The Construction of Technological Systems
4 Reading: Mindell. “Opening Black’s Box: Rethinking Feedback’s Myth of Origin.”
IV. Invention and Engineering Culture
5 Reading: MacKenzie, Donald. Inventing Accuracy. Chapters 1-2.

Reading: MacKenzie, Donald. Inventing Accuracy. Chapters 4, 7, and 8.

Assignment Due: Response Paper #1

V. Innovation and Marketplace
7 Reading: Christensen, Clayton M. The Inventor’s Dilemma. Chapters 1, 2, 4, 9, and 11.
8 Reading: Discussion of Methodology, Research Methods, Library, Techniques, Source Materials, etc.
VI. Using Sources Effectively

Lab Notebooks and Project Documentation: Meet in MIT Archives, Introduction to Edgerton/Forrester Notebooks

Assignment Due: Response Paper #2

VII. Group Work and Collaborative Writing
10 Presentation: “Working Effectively in Groups.” In-Class Group Work

In-Class Group Work, Presentation of Project History Proposals, Discussion and Ranking

Assignment Due: Individual Project History Proposals

VIII. Project History Work
12 In-Class Group Work
13 In-Class Group Work
IX. Visual Materials and Argumentation
14 Reading: Tufte, Edward. Visual and Statistical Thinking.
15 In-Class Group Work
X. Understanding Patents
16 Presentation: “How to Read a Patent.” In-Class Group Work

In-Class Group Work

Assignment Due: Visual Argumentation Exercise

XI. Project Histories

In-Class Group Work

Assignment Due: Group Proposal/Plan of Project History

19 In-Class Group Work
20 In-Class Group Work
21 In-Class Group Work
22 In-Class Group Work
XII. Final Preparations
23 Presentation Rehearsals

Presentation Rehearsals

Assignment Due: Written Draft for Groups Presenting

XIII. Presentations of Project Histories
25 Group Presentation of Project Histories
26 Group Presentation of Project Histories

Final Projects due two days after the last session.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
group_work Projects with Examples
assignment Written Assignments