The Principles of Technology and Engineering course introduce the student to the engineering field and the technology types that may result from the engineering design process. Students also gain an understanding of the available career options in this field, and the education, experience and skills required to work in these careers.
Students learn how to successfully solve problems. They become familiar with steps in the invention process and investigate ways in which engineers take an idea to a working technology, from an initial concept.
They learn of real-world examples of engineering innovations, which include global civil engineering projects, environmentally friendly designs and cutting-edge medical technology.
Students also learn about the relationship between science, technology and engineering. They learn how scientific knowledge is applied for the creation of technology beneficial to society. In addition, students learn how to make design modifications based on an analysis of the underlying principles from chemistry, physics, biology and earth sciences.


  • Understand the engineering field and technology that can result from the process of engineering design.
  • Distinguish steps in the process of engineering design and apply the process to solve problems or meet challenges.
  • Construct a prototype to present a workable solution to a problem using critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Classify energy resources as nonrenewable or renewable and analyze energy efficiency and usage.
  • Recognize the health, social, economic and environmental benefits and costs of renewable energy sources in comparison to the nonrenewable sources.
  • Critique the technology resulting from the process of engineering design and suggest science-based principles for modifications.
  • Define phrases and terms associated with engineering systems and products and use these to communicate their analysis in written or oral form.
  • Identify career options in the engineering field, and explain the educational requirements and benefits for every option.

For the assignments and topics in this course, it is helpful for students to have a basic understanding of the scope of scientific investigations, which include the question types that science does and does not address.
It is also useful for students to familiarize themselves with carrying out research online and be able to evaluate the credibility of online sources. Students who are not comfortable assessing the credibility of online sources may obtain information on this topic from various educational websites such as mason.gmu.edu and library.columbia.edu.


This course introduces students to the technical skills and knowledge base that will assist them in successfully competing for positions in the Information Technology Career Cluster. Lessons have been structured such that students are able to learn and then demonstrate not only analytic skills and critical assessment, but also interpersonal skills that are so highly valued among IT employers.
We explore a range of career tracks which include network engineers, systems analysts and programming/application developers. These career paths have been described in depth, in discussing typical job responsibilities, licensure and educational requirements, job outlooks and working conditions. The lessons assist students in placing in context the evolution of job opportunities and technology such that they grasp their vital role in furthering this development. It is our belief that the most successful IT professionals combine technical know-how with ability in leadership. To this end, students learn that the expertise they acquired comes with the responsibility of representing themselves and the companies they work for within the highest ethical and legal standards.


  • Identify the basic structure and components of a computer system and its use within a communications/networking environment.
  • Design and implement a basic network during an introduction to multiple network system types.
  • Apply both industry and ethical standard security policies to the networks.
  • Discuss the development and history and use of Internet in society and business.
  • Explain the development of interaction in human-centered technology.
  • Apply capabilities in mobile computing technology to business and learning.
  • Identify the various operating systems found on laptops, desktops and mobile devices.
  • Understand mobile application deployment, marketing and architecture.
  • Determine best practice application skills for various information technology systems which are available for implementation.
  • Planning, development and implementation of an information system.
  • Maximizing Internet use in businesses and homes.
  • Identify wireless communication network structures and the mechanisms behind their functionality.
  • Develop and identify protocols for using Internet within a business.
  • Develop and identify information system libraries and information repositories.
  • Understand the logic behind object-oriented programming.
  • Identify the multiple programming languages used in Internet/mobile application development.
  • Develop, plan and implement an Internet/mobile application.


This Computer Fundamentals course offers students an understanding of computers, how they operate and a basic understanding of how to maintain and manage computers and their systems. The skills gained will enable students to configure computers and solve computer problems.
Students learn details on various elements of computers and computer systems. They learn to identify various hardware devices and their functions. They are instructed on the role of operating systems, in addition to how to customize and install the Windows operating system. Students will learn about the Internet and networking; and be introduced to security issues for protecting themselves, the data and computers.
Students also learn about certain software applications typically utilized in modern computers, including Microsoft Office. Moreover, students learn specifics on troubleshooting and maintaining computers, including backing up systems, managing files, and using administrative tools in the Windows operating system. Finally, students learn the fundamentals of customer service and working as a help desk support technician.


  • Following completion of this course, students can understand computers, their functions, and develop basic skills in computer service to meet customer needs effectively.
  • Students are able to implement techniques in problem-solving to understand the nature of computer issues. They will understand software, hardware components, and the Internet, to enable them to maintain, update and develop computer systems.
  • Following this course, students are also able to use the Internet to update computer systems and carry out other tasks relating to IT service. They are able to configure, modify and install operating systems and software to guarantee optimal function of the system.
  • Students are able to carry out backup procedures for protecting information. They are also able to recognize potential security threats, and understand procedures for security maintenance.
  • Following this course, students will be able to offer IT training and support for networks and computers.

Fundamentals of Computer Systems Course Requirements

For this course’s topics, it is useful for students to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of using laptop or desktop computers, along with accessing Internet Websites.
Students who are not familiar with such topics are recommended, but not required, to familiarize themselves with the Web browser and operating system that they intend to use for this course. This includes turning a computer on and logging into an account, where necessary, exploring the various software types available, navigating through certain operating system menus to understand the tools available, and conducting basic Internet searches.


The course offers an overview of the various digital media types, and how they are utilized in today’s world. Students examine the digital media impact on lifestyle and culture. This course reviews the fundamental concepts for the creation of effective digital media, introducing various career paths relating to digital media.
Students will examine certain tools used in creating digital media and discuss best practices in the creation of digital media. This will include an overview of the process used in the creation of new media pieces along with basic project management concepts.
The course will have students examining the use of social media, e-commerce, gaming and simulations, digital media in business, advertising and on the World Wide Web, as well as digital movies and music. Students review laws and ethics impacting digital media creation and use.


  • Discuss different digital media types.
  • Explain the value of using online audio and video for business.
  • Discuss digital media careers.
  • Compare and contrast traditional forms of media and digital media.
  • Discuss digital society living and the changes that result from this.
  • Explain project management as a career.
  • Describe the social media evolution.
  • Discuss social media and ethics.
  • Identify certain future challenges that the gaming industry may face.
  • Compare the various computer language types.
  • Determine the role in globalization that digital media plays.
  • Explain the limitations of conducting business on the web.
  • Describe certain different laws relating to digital media.
  • Explain the journalism cannons.
  • Describe certain foreseeable changes in advertising and social media.
  • Determine the type of schooling necessary for their chosen career.


The course offers students an understanding of basic concepts and practices in software development, issues that affect the software industry, software industry careers, and the skills required in performing these occupations well. Students learn details on core concepts for using Java for programming, including debugging and writing code, control flow, proper syntax, comparison operators, operations order, and program logic models and tools. They learn the function of key program techniques that include if statements, arrays and looping. They also learn about using HTML for web development and drag-and-drop development of user interfaces in an environment of Integrated Development. Students will also learn about the Software Development Life Cycle and the different variations that are used in creating software. They learn about various programming paradigms and languages, and the importance of user and usability-centered design processes.
Students also learn about software industry careers, the skills and education required to work in this industry, as well as related career resources. Lastly, the capstone project will enable students to state and explore opinions on key trends and issues that impact the software industry, and learn about the experience of working in this industry.


  • Understand the relationship between computer software and hardware.
  • Describe the high-level organization and use of the central processing unit.
  • Understand software categories and be able to assign software products properly into their correct categories.
  • Describe key functions of systems software.
  • Describe the functionality of popular software applications (such as word processing, spreadsheet development and database management).
  • Understand the operation and function of interpreters and compliers.

Fundamentals of Programming and Software Development Course Requirements

Topics in this course require that students familiarize themselves with the basics of using laptop and desktop computers, in addition to accessing Internet websites. Students who are unfamiliar with these topics are recommended, but not required, to familiarize themselves with the creation and saving of files in a word processing or text editing application, and with the use of web browsers and carrying out Internet searches.


The Network System Design course provides students with an understanding of computer networks, how they operate, and a basic understanding of how to maintain and manage computer networks. The skills will enable students to design, troubleshoot and configure networks of all sizes.
Students learn the fundamentals of network design, including how to identify network requirements and determine the right network architecture. They are instructed on network model requirements, and introduced to local area networks. Students also learn about Internet Protocol and the basics of network routing of data. Students are introduced to network security issues and wide area networks. Moreover, students learn about network management, including troubleshooting and monitoring. Finally, students learn about network operating systems and their role in facilitating communications and connecting computers.


  • Understand computer networks and their functions, and how to analyze technical and business goals of a network to meet customer needs effectively.
  • Identify requirements for successfully supporting network applications, devices and users. They will also understand network topology and architecture, services and protocols of wide and local area networks.
  • Identify operation and principles of equipment such as circuits and wire, and standards like TCP/IP, open system interconnection and high-speed networking.
  • Show knowledge in data protection and security requirements on a network, along with the role of security tools including firewalls, routers and virtual private networks.
  • Understand network operating systems and have the ability to support computer networks.

Topics in this course require that students familiarize themselves with computer hardware basics (laptop and desktop), along with operating systems for desktops. Students who are not familiar with these subjects are recommended, although not required, to be introduced to computer hardware and workstation or desktop operating systems before beginning this course. This includes the examination of hardware devices including hard drives, motherboards and processing chips, and the exploration of functions and features of a workstation operating system.


New Applications introduce students to the world of apps/ applications which is rapidly evolving. The launch of the Apple II in 1977, followed by the PC by IBM and numerous compatible computers a mere 4 years later created a strong demand among consumers for software programs, as the applications were referred to during this time. Computer programs were at first sold in specialty stores, via mail or at college bookstores, and had the capacity to format spreadsheets, compose and proof hundreds of text lines, and support classroom instruction. The explosive Internet growth that followed at the commencement of the 21st century with the introduction of high-speed networking, the dynamic World Wide Web, and more recently the development of affordable web tablets and smartphones all contributed to cultural, societal and global change.

The course commences with a historical tour of the World Wide Web and Internet along with applications and programs that made it possible for computer users all around the world to begin exploring and better understanding their world. Thereafter, a step-by-step introduction to WordPress enables students to gain the insight and tools necessary for creating their own web pages and discover their online voice.
Along with learning how to use WordPress and other applications promoting the presence of students on the World Wide Web, the course explains how the web has transformed into the foremost channel for distributing applications that increase web functionality and support a global hub of communication and social networking. Students are introduced to the evolution of data transfer and networking capabilities, commencing with early HTTP protocols and proceeding to the recent introduction of smartphones that are capable of connecting to World Wide Web sites without having to navigate via a browser.
The course is concluded with a survey of the ongoing explosion of new apps/ applications, designed to operate on one or more of the proprietary mobile devices (tablet, smartphone or netbook).
Students are provided an opportunity of tracking basic changes in this growth industry as development moves from the original model of a single experienced programmer who develops a single app for distribution at little or no cost to a model in which retailers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies contract with midsized communications and marketing firms for the development of sophisticated apps designed to raise global public and market awareness of issues and institutions. In addition, students have the opportunity of understanding that career opportunities in app development have evolved from coding and programming to now include public relations, marketing, creative arts, product and project management and sales, with an increasing number of industry careers requiring little if any actual experience in programming.
New Applications is a survey course which travels from the initial software programs developed to facilitate Internet communication to a new generation of native and mobile apps that access the Internet without relying on a web browser. New Applications is also a practical course on developing a World Wide Web presence using WordPress and other web-application tools that are available. The aim of this course is to provide the student with insights into the rapidly evolving universe of application development and programming, such that they can make an informed career decision in the fast changing and growing industry.


  • Describe key advances in communications and network technology, beginning with the early Internet and progressing through the introduction of web-enabled smartphones and other devices.
  • Use simple applications to create a web presence.
  • Select from and evaluate various web development apps and tools most appropriate for their needs and interests.
  • Design a modern generation app to use on a tablet or smartphone.
  • Evaluate the training and education experiences and qualities required to secure a position with growth potential within the app industry.

This is an introductory course in the development and history of new applications for use on web-enabled devices such as personal computers, ultra books, smartphones and tablets. While this course has no specific prerequisites, students should have a basic understanding of the World Wide Web, Internet, browsers, file formats, software and hardware applications. Students with a working knowledge of programming, IP addressing, differences between wide-area, local and cloud-computing networks, along with the current state of mobile devices will be well prepared to finish the course.


This course seeks to introduce students to educational avenues and career opportunities within a broad spectrum of environmental fields. Students conduct examinations of environmental regulations and legislation, government agencies and organizations, testing and monitoring requirements and methods. They explore the relationship between environmental careers and regulations, study the history, issues and present state of water and air quality, soil and atmospheric conditions. In a world facing environmental challenges, ESS professionals are very important. Job outlooks and salary scales are reflective of this need for educated and dedicated scientists, researchers, engineers, etc.


  • Compare and contrast environmental service systems careers in terms of their scope, career demands, academic preparation and employment potential.
  • Evaluate issues relating to the environment such as air, water, waste and disposal.
  • Explain how individuals are able to positively impact the environment and educate others on environmental concerns.
  • Articulate the various sciences and technologies that surround air, water, ecosystems, toxics and waste cleanup.
  • Identify sustainable practices and gain a deeper comprehension to balance society, environment and the economy.
  • Describe regulations and laws that impact systems of environmental service.
  • Identify key analytical and laboratory instrumentation utilized for monitoring the environment.
  • Discuss ways of improving analytical results.
  • Recognize weather patterns and weather systems through the use of meteorological knowledge and principles.
  • Describe soil properties and compositions to demonstrate soil science knowledge.
  • Apply principles of chemistry to systems of environmental service.
  • Evaluate treatment of wastewater and regulatory compliance.
  • Identify health risks which are associated with hazardous materials.
  • Identify methods of alternative and conventional energy sources.

This is an introductory course in environmental service systems. The student should have interest in this field as a possible career; possess computer and online access, as well as certain experience in computer searches. Certain students or student groups may already have done some field testing, like simple pH water tests in a stream or at home. Others may have or had access to transportation of testing equipment to testing project sites, wastewater treatment plant field trips, etc. The lesson projects are written to ensure students with access to labs; equipment and transportation are able to use them, while those who don’t can conduct virtual testing. Students may also be familiar with 3D and 2D computer modeling, and even have access to related programs. While these are not necessary, they are applicable to the course study.


Power, Structural and Technical Systems offer students an understanding of the agriculture power field and introduces them to concepts that are associated with the production of food and fiber necessary to meet the needs of today and tomorrow. This understanding provides students with the opportunity to explore agricultural machinery, as well as technological concepts and structures. Students will grasp the historical changes in agriculture as well as how agriculture has changed to meet world population needs of the future. Students will be introduced to structures, machinery, biotechnology and professional and ethical standards that are applicable to agriculture power. Students will grasp the technological innovations that have contributed to the dynamic nature of agriculture. Computers and other technological tools that have enabled farmers to use precision agriculture. Students will grasp the professional career responsibilities and opportunities of growers country-wide. In addition, students are educated on some of the available resources for agricultural industry professionals.


  • Understand the field of agriculture power, structure and technology, as well as the role that agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) play in both society and the world economy.
  • Understand the interaction between ANFR systems in the production, management and processing of food, fuel and fiber, in addition to sustainable stewardship and use of natural resources.
  • Describe career opportunities and ways of achieving such positions.
  • Analyze how trends, issues, public polices and technologies impact AFNR Career Cluster systems.
  • Summarize the importance of systems of safety, health and environmental management in AFNR organizations.

In respect of these course topics, it is helpful if students familiarize themselves with general concepts in the agricultural world, along with the fundamentals of conducting website research. Students should carry out evaluations of web sources for validity. For certain topics, students need to have the capacity to research the local community and locate particular businesses involved in mechanical repair. Students who are not acquainted with these topics should familiarize themselves with methods for web research, which includes website evaluations.