[rant] I just came home from an exam on Partial Differential Equations and Complex Analysis. Supposed to be a sophomore course. Never managed to tackle it until today; not that I ever bothered too much. I had studies for a few days and had got the hang of it. The PDE professor (the analysis part of the course is taught by a different person) handed us the two exercises. BAM! The two hardest ones he could pick! Poisson on polar coordinates and Non Homogenous PDE with time-dependent term and time dependent boundary conditions! The Poisson wasn't even referred in the textbook that he wrote! Plus, this exam period was specifically for us senior students who are past our last nominal year! I probably passed, but still, this was uncalled for violence. Take a gander. Don't bother with the Greek words, just look at the equations. Math is international. [/rant]
Sorry -- I'm a bit short on sympathy today. The problems are solvable by the application of basic principles or they are not. If you understand the method of solution, an unfamiliar problem should not be that big of a challenge. I've done the Stochastic Calculus and the relationship of Discounted Expected Values to the solution of PDEs via the Feynman-Kac theorem. I can tell you from experience that those problems will put real hair on your chest
I 'm not saying that the problems where unsolvable. Not at all. I knew how to solve them. I actually quoted the pages on the textbook where they were analyzed. Alas, textbooks were not allowed during this exam. But, even on the textbook, where the solution algorithm was mentioned, not a numerical example with actual solutions and coefficients calculations, it took 4 pages, for Exercise no2. So, in effect, the professor believes that the essence of a good engineer is to remember by heart a 4 page long solution method and apply it to a solution within 45 minutes, instead of knowing where to find it, when it applies and how to use it. I enrolled in an EE school, partly to avoid having to learn things by heart. P.S. Exercise 3 and 4, on Complex Analysis, where admittedly very easy and practical. Nothing to rant about them at all.
Well yes I agree that knowing where to find information is part of what makes a good engineer. Maybe my memory is growing foggy with age, but I remember cramming a whole lot of information into my brain pan once upon a time. BTW if you think engineering requires memory skills, just imagine if you were a thoracic surgeon (aka a chest cracker).
Exactly. I think it shouldn't require momory skills. Anything I have learned by heart about my profession is things I need daily and have stuck onto my brain through repetition. And, of course, I didn't say that those PDEs where the hardest there are. But, in my opinion where too hard for a sophomore student, studying to be an EE. Any professional approach would use a software package, anyway. No, I don't believe that computers should replace theoretic knowledge. Yes, I believe that we should learn (applicable in Greece) to integrate computers in our work.
I agree with you as far as anyone who wants you to memorise specific theorums or equasions needed to solve problems as this is a waste of time as what is important to know is WHY it works rather than memorising something needed for it to work or be solved. The professors I had in general always allowed open book exams as although having the book allowed a person a list of what they needed to solve problems if that person did not understand how to solve it they couldn't do it...so having an open book did not give anyone an advantage other than providing specific equasions and theorums. In the real world it is rediculous to think that a person would not have a list ot program specific to solving problems quickly to do their work as well as given the vast amount of these...NO ONE expects a person to have such information at the top of their head. Unfortunately some teachers just LOVE to play games. Split Infinity