What do they teach?

Thread Starter

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
Here is a quote from another thread.

I have a degree in electronic engineering but at uni we never actually got told about how an electronics engineer goes about designing and analyzing a project.

I'm interested in both the technical and project phase stuff, I just need some kind of order to my designing and what kind of results I should be showing on paper.
As some of you know, my main career was in marketing, (i.e., product management,) and involved technical products with electric, electronic, and mechanical components, including internal combustion engines. I was always more technically competent than other marketing types, but I felt handicapped by the lack of an engineering degree.

I see lots of questions here from students and recent grads that make me wonder if the education they receive is applicable to product development. Is it geared more toward theoretical research?
 

Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,181
In Greece, universities are notorious for their inclination towards degrees based mainly on theoretical knowledge (and because labs are expensive).

I realized that quite early in my degree and always try to keep my hands busy with some hands-on project.

I even organize an Elecltronics Club meeting once a week at the university, dedicated to any student that feels the same lack in practical experience but doesn't know where to start.

It is a great debate, which you can acquire more easily on your own after your degree: theoretical basis or hands-on experience. It lean towards the second, but we shouldn't be purists.

Other than that, the abstract design and specifications layout of a project is the hardest part of an engineer's job, in my opinion. You can't really teach that.
 

t06afre

Joined May 11, 2009
5,934
To be a good designer is not something that can be learned at any university. It will require to much time and resources. And also not everybody has the knack either. The university task is to give you a bag of basic knowledge. And skills in absorbing information and process it. What I think students are not very good at. Is to kind of navigate in unknown waters. I have seen often in this forum. That many students tend to go into panic mode. Then they can not find the answer by simply looking in some text. Often seen then they have combine bits and bobs learned in previous courses to something that is for real.
 

Thread Starter

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
I agree that there is no substitute for experience, but I would have expected that any engineering curriculum would include the fundamentals of project management.

Although, I have an MBA, and there wasn't sufficient content in my coursework that was applicable to real workplace conditions and situations. In fact, a lot of the theories that were taught were contrary to reality. So, I suppose there is always a gap between academia and the actual world.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
After working at a university of technology for a year and a half, I have come to realize the true nature of the so-called "education" they provide. The schools have become more concerned with making money than with teaching the students. They accept about 40% more of the students who apply than they did when I attended, and instead of trying to give them good, worthwhile educations, they just push them through as fast as they can so that they can get the next group of students (rather, so that they can get the next load of money).

The world has become much more money-oriented than people-oriented, even just in the past decade or two. It's sad, really, and I have no doubt this money-hungry attitude will eventually lead to its own demise.

Matt
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,006
I would start by broadly classifying engineering as either analysis or synthesis.

Analysis is where one applies the scientific method to draw reasoned conclusions about something. Each and every step of this process can and should be taught, and it is the primary mission of a university to teach such. While analysis may be creatively applied, for the most part it is grunt work.

Synthesis is different. It cannot be taught. It cannot be forced, coerced, pushed or bullied about. It comes from a quiet pace inside your soul. It appease as it wishes... sometimes in small pieces, sometimes so fast you cannot write it out.

Synthesis needs to be nourished. Analysis and prior art (How It's Made) are the primary food groups.
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
I saw a program where they were able to measure brain waves and make the brain

do commands on broad basis. Then it showed another engineer take the device

apart ,see how it was put together, then he made a device that he could put on his

forehead and make a helicopter fly using his brain to operate the device. The

engineers are busy making other peoples devices work better, he could also make

a blender turn on with brain power. Note...they use the ear as a ground to keep stray

noise away.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
I saw a program where they were able to measure brain waves and make the brain

do commands on broad basis. Then it showed another engineer take the device

apart ,see how it was put together, then he made a device that he could put on his

forehead and make a helicopter fly using his brain to operate the device. The

engineers are busy making other peoples devices work better, he could also make

a blender turn on with brain power. Note...they use the ear as a ground to keep stray

noise away.
I saw that on a youtube video by Tested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9S0fTOVug4
 

LDC3

Joined Apr 27, 2013
924
The schools have become more concerned with making money than with teaching the students. They accept about 40% more of the students who apply than they did when I attended, and instead of trying to give them good, worthwhile educations, they just push them through as fast as they can so that they can get the next group of students (rather, so that they can get the next load of money).
Matt
I'm not certain that it is the school's greed that has them accepting more students. After all there are more students applying to the schools than 20 years ago. It is the community that is pushing the schools to educate those who want an education. With more students on campus, the operating costs increase as well.

I think another problem is that the classes being taught poorly reflect the needs of the workplace.

Also, there are a lot of jobs where specific education is needed, but the schools cannot individualize ones education to fit into the job.
 

Brownout

Joined Jan 10, 2012
2,390
The university task is to give you a bag of basic knowledge. And skills in absorbing information and process it.
Some parts are expected to be picked up on the job. There is just so much that can be learned in 4-5 years, and other things just need to be experienced.

That many students tend to go into panic mode. Then they can not find the answer by simply looking in some text. Often seen then they have combine bits and bobs learned in previous courses to something that is for real.
Part of this is, I think, there is more emphasis on succeeding and less on learning. People are afraid of making mistakes, and the system unduly punished them for it. Some if my most lasting learning from school are the things I screwed up.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,074
to me the main problem is students trying for a degree looking for jobs that "pay" the most. With no real interest in what their supposed to be learning. I have so many ideas for things to make, but don't have the education.:(

The kids coming here in there final year and asking "what should I make for my final project?", is sad. You spent the years in school and still don't have anything screaming out in your mind to build? What a waste.:(
 

Thread Starter

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
The kids coming here in there final year and asking "what should I make for my final project?", is sad. You spent the years in school and still don't have anything screaming out in your mind to build? What a waste.:(
Isn't that the truth! I always have multiple ideas for projects that I would like to build, and they don't have a clue. No imagination, I suppose.
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
Read my engineering post ,a grad student found how to do brain wave with

head set device. Another grad student took his work apart to see how it put

together, he made a head device changing the circuit a little. So now he can

with his brain make a model helicopter fly by just thinging about it.
 

Thread Starter

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
I saw the video. All the headset does is measure the electrical activity in the pre-frontal cortex; based on an increased brain activity level, the headset sends a command to increase the rotational speed of the motor, which causes the blades to lift the helo. The person wearing the headset isn't even thinking about the helo, but is doing multiplication tables in his/her head. They can't steer it at all; in my opinion, it's a gimmick.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
I saw the video. All the headset does is measure the electrical activity in the pre-frontal cortex; based on an increased brain activity level, the headset sends a command to increase the rotational speed of the motor, which causes the blades to lift the helo. The person wearing the headset isn't even thinking about the helo, but is doing multiplication tables in his/her head. They can't steer it at all; in my opinion, it's a gimmick.
I don't see it as a gimmick. I see it as the beginning.
 

Thread Starter

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
Brain-computer interface research has been going on for more than 40 years under the auspices of DARPA, among others. There has been tremendous progress with applications in the military, for example, that are functional and deployed in practical use.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
Brain-computer interface research has been going on for more than 40 years under the auspices of DARPA, among others. There has been tremendous progress with applications in the military, for example, that are functional and deployed in practical use.
Yes, but that is in the Military. The projects these grad students are working on are designed to be cheap and accessible to the public. It is also all open-source--they encourage you to change or add to the code, etc.

It's the beginning for everyday students and hobbyists who are interested in controlling things with their minds.

Matt
 
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