Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Interesting Article on Education

Real education is difficult to attain in an academic setting alone. If you have ever taught or studied Kerouac’s On the Road, for example, you will know that it is impossible not to look out the window at some point, and consider the futility of trying to grasp in a classroom what could better be grasped in a boxcar. "In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice – in practice, there is." Yogi Berra’s distinction is tonic to those who squat in books, starved of what William Carlos Williams called "the thing itself." Students of Drivers’ Ed can appreciate the vast difference between correctly answering a multiple-choice question on the distance one ought to maintain between oneself and the car ahead, and getting in a car and actually maintaining it.
John Leichty

The above quote is taken from interesting article on education at LewRockwell (here).

This article captures some of my thoughts on the problems with modern engineering education.

We have a new graduate engineer. He worked with us when he was in school. He recounted how on his senior project he was the only student who knew how use CAD to put together a drawing package to document the project. His knowledge of how to make drawings came from his work experience.

I would not expect college students to be proficient at this but I would expect that they would have a general idea how to this. The question is do their professors know anything about this and how important it is? I don't expect the professors to be proficient at this either. Is it unrealistic to expect the professors to have some knowledge of industrial practice? After all most of their students will go to work in industry.

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