×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Jobs

What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?
9

What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
Hello everyone.

I'm working on a project to develop a new curriculum for freshmen level Mechanical Engineering students. The focus of the introductory (design?) course is to teach students skills that are required in the "real world". Personally, I have come up with pages of things that I learned at my first job that I wish I learned in college.

What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Any responses will be greatly appreciated! If you have a project in mind to teach said skill, please feel free to mention it.

Thanks,
-FR

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing: drafting is taught in a superficial way. We mechies have to be able to understand and prepare drawings.

--
JHG

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Most of what I learned in the first couple of years have been of limited value in my career. I took drafting in my fourth semester and that has been useful. The math and entry level science was all foundational for upper level classes, so it was important, but I've never balanced a chemical equation using Freshman Chemistry methods and as a ME if I have something that requires knowledge of chemical bonds I'm barking in the wrong forest.

I don't know where it goes, but I have not met a new grad that can tell me what a "Standard" gas volume means or why they should care. This is a real problem in my industry. In my 5-day class for Field Facilities Engineers I ask two questions about standard volumes in the pre-test and no one has ever gotten either one of them right. Lack of knowledge of this subject is so widespread that in my master's theses I calculated velocity based on standard conditions (a meaningless number) and when I defended my theses with conclusions based on a meaningless "velocity" no one on the committee (which was made up of fluids professors and the Dean of Engineering) ever caught my error or questioned it. Since every commercial gas from Argon to Methane to Zenon is sold in SCF or SCM it is kind of important. I'd like to see it covered in Chemistry, Physics, Fluids, and "Engineering Concepts" courses. In Junior-level fluids we talked A LOT about volume flow rates as though that was a useful concept (it is actually only useful for determining bulk velocity), without ever a mention of restating volume flow rate at an alternate pressure and temperature.

A new graduate that had mastered this concept to the point that it is boring would have taken a giant step towards being useful in Oil & Gas.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

This is not so much what I missed in college but rather what I think is being missed now and that is that with the advent of laptops, spreadsheets, calculators, engineering math tools like MathCAD and Maple, no one is teaching people how to do a first pass 'estimate' so that when you do run-the-numbers that you have some sense that what you're getting is at least in the ballpark of what you had expected it to be. This was a skill that was almost mandatory when most engineering computations were being done on a sliderule. I suspect that many out there will probably respond that with today's modern tools this is no longer an issue. If saying it would only make it true...

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I would say that the main skill missing from most grads today is problem solving. Nobody knows how to analyze a situation, figure out what is known, what needs to be known, and recognize what physical laws/principles/equations are needed to find the solution. Almost all problems in engineering school contain exactly the information needed (no more, no less) to solve the problem presented, almost exclusively using the principle currently being taught. The problem is, in the real world you almost always have a lot of data that you don't need and one or two pieces of data that you don't have, but could obtain if you knew how to go look for them. You also have to know what concepts and tools (mathematical, formulae etc) to use to put your data together.

I've attached to this post an actual question that I saw asked on this very forum a few years ago. I couldn't come up with a better illustration of the above if I tried.

There are two ways to solve the attached problem. Bonus points go to the person who recognizes the way to solve the problem with the given information. Passing grade goes to the person who can figure out what piece of information is missing in order to solve the problem the long way. Either solution solves this real-world problem, but very few people that I've shown it to can find either.

-handleman, CSWP (The new, easy test)

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Along with order of magnitude calcs, I see a lot of new grads that can't comprehend unit analysis (I need lb/hr, I have ft/sec, in^2, and lb/ft^3 and it is a complete mystery to me what goes in the numerator and what goes in the denominator and often get ft*in^2*ft^3/sec/lbm and call it lb/hr without any unit conversion, it really doesn't take much effort to know that you convert the area to ft^2 and then just multiply the three values together and convert seconds to hours, but it is beyond too many people).

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
My replies to everyone!

@zdas04 It took me until Fall of my junior year until I had this skill. Once I did, my grades shot way the heck up. We should be teaching this explicitly freshman year!

@handleman. What an excellent answer. Coming up with "missing information" problems for freshman engineers could be extremly beneficial to them in the long run. I'll get started on your problem now.. smile

@Mr. Baker - Nice to hear from you. What do you mean? Do you have any examples to share?

@drawoh - GD&T is something I've considered myself. I think a single lecture would probably be worth while. We wouldn't really be able to spend enough time on it in a freshman level introductory course though.

Looking forward to more answers, and hopefully some projects or problems that you all have experienced that really taught you what it meant to be an engineer.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

To illustrate John's point, I recently had a 5 year engineer input the density of a low pressure gas into a blackbox program as 7.9 lb/ft^3 and was willing to accept an impossible outcome. I looked at the number and said "do you really believe that number?". He started spluttering and wrote his equation on the white board-- psi times SG over the right gas constant for air for lbf/ft^2, but wrong for psi, over temperature. I told him that "lbm per in^2 per ft is not the same as lbm per ft^3". A glance at the physics would have said that low pressure gas has a density considerably (i.e., 144 times) smaller than he input. With no feel for the magnitude of the expected result any number is as good as any other number.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I'm not a mechanical engineer, but this thread applies to almost any of the engineering disciplines. Interesting reading.

I have't been out of college long (6 yrs) but have found a few things that you don't learn in school:

-Calculus wasn't about integrating, it was about understanding what that integral meant and was trying to tell you
-Circuits class wasn't always about V=IR, it was about understanding the concepts that you will run into in the real world
-You can't plug something into a model and trust the results unless you can start out being able to reflect your results from actual measurements. Eventually, you'll start to "feel" when your model is being stupid or being correct.
-With enough experience, you know what to expect on the other end of a calculation, and you learn "short cuts" to do on the fly in your head if you're in an operating situation that doesn't allow you the convenience of paper and a calculator.

Project example of college vs. real world: I got in an argument with my boss about the effects of an oversized capacitor on a long medium voltage electric distribution line, and also the governing factors of electric power flow (not always voltage difference in AC systems!!) And he did not believe me... probably doesn't until this day. Even with field data to prove it. Point being: He had done very little actual engineering and analysis before he was the boss, I'd been doing it for 4 years hot and heavy when we got into this argument. He'd never seen the difference between voltage drop and phase angle difference and it's relation to real and reactive power flows in a power line. I'm no expert, but even after a short time in the workforce I'd beaten him hands down. Imagine what the next 30 yrs of "war stories" will do for my education!

That might all be Greek talk, but the point was that the boss had no feel because he'd never experienced the model and he'd never verified the results with field measurements. The gray haired engineers that had "seen it all" do still have value... and thats why. they can do on the fly CORRECTLY what a new grad can't even understand yet. And it's not that their college education was all *that* much different.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I didn't learn about applicable codes until I was out of school. ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, IBC, etc. So much of our work is based on some sort of predetermined acceptance criteria that is not communicated to students.

I agree with John's point. Dimensional analysis and estimating should be taught from day one. It helps to develop the gut check early on.

Last thing: (Applies to US only) English/American units! Decimal feet and decimal inches! So many texts use only SI units that I had to play catch-up with simple constants.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

frusso110,

If the budding engineering is going to work in design, GD&T is the language he must learn to use. A single lecture will be enough the tell undergrads that they need to know this stuff. After a full semester course, they actually will know it, at least as well as they know everything else.

--
JHG

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Engineering school teaches you to think. Beyond that, it does little to prepare you for professional life. Given that, I have learned so much more since graduation (36 years ago) than I could have ever learned in an academic environment. I've learned that theory and practice vary in closeness....sometimes theory matches practice, sometimes not. One key is knowing when to use one or the other.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
Do you have an example of a project that you worked on within your first 5 years in which a light bulb clicked and suddenly everything made sense? I would be interested in hearing what made it click for everyone.

For me it was when I started designing parts and assemblies with the focus of my mind to put everything together.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

In one class that I teach I dissassemble an equation that is in wide usage to show where each bit came from and the underlying assumptions. Then we discuss how the equation is commonly used and evaluate the underlying assumptions from a "does this feel right in this situation?" standpoint. Stuff like the basis for the equation assumes no friction, but the development of one of the correction terms assumes enough friction to dampen swirl. Near the end of the discussion everyone is thinking "this equation is crap, how could anyone ever use it?", and then I go into exactly how widespread the use of the equation is and show how well it actually matches many real-life situations. The message is that many times you can get to a "good enough" answer without satisfying all of the assumptions and boundary conditions perfectly. I wish I had had a flavor for "good enough" in college.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

It's like the '80/20 rule' in software development; you can usually get 80% of the value from a project for about 20% of the cost that it would have taken to reach 100%.

Sometimes 'good enough' is.

However, that being said, there is that old adage; "The the enemy of 'Excellence' is being satisfied with 'Good Enough'."

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

"I would say that the main skill missing from most grads today is problem solving."

I'm not sure that can actually be taught, at least, the part of problem solving that involves determining how a problem should be solved. My teenaged son has great difficulty with that phase. Once shown, he generally can do the math, but figuring out how the problem is to be solved often eludes him.

Not an ME, but wish I had some sort of heat transfer class. Thermo is good, but often couched in theoretical things. But pure heat transfer is very useful, and it's clear that many engineers either forgot their thermo or never took anything like it.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

@handleman: (Unless I'm mistaken & making a fool out of myself)
This is not a 'missing information' problem, it's a too much information problem.
All transfers are linear in nature. So the answer is 630*48/40 = 756
The thing that is missing is the conveyor belt diameter I guess, if you want to use all data given.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I think a great set of lessons I wish I had in school would all be focused on failures and bad design. This is where engineering gets interesting and are the core of where most lessons are learned. Something that picks apart an engineering failure to learn what went wrong. I wonder if Henry Petrosky would write an engineering textbook. It doesn't even have to be a major failure. I have an egg timer with a magnetic back on my fridge, but the start stop button is near the side and the base that has the magnet is about half the size of the face so every time I hit start or stop it flies off the fridge. Slap that designer!

Outside of that there are a bunch of "things" that can be bought and put together to do different things and getting a sence of what is out there would be helpful. Sensors, actuators, yada yada yada. Give em a box of parts and ask them to come up with something. I also think being able to read a specification is a good idea and it takes going through them a few times to get the idea of what the point is. There are plenty of free mil-specs that can be used. Corrosion is my bane and my grounding in freshman chemistry was helpful when I went to study on my own the causes of corrosion, but as an ME I understand that all we really need to know is don't put these metals together, and if you do it will corrode this fast. And designing fastener connections.

Well that's about two semesters worth.

-Kirby

Kirby Wilkerson

Remember, first define the problem, then solve it.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Kirby,
Your signature tag line, is really another item for this class.

What I've seen in my career is that as you move away from high school to gray haired Engineer the world gets progressively less black and white. In in a good high school physics class you'll learn that Watts = Volts * Amps. In college you'll add a power factor. In real life you'll add such things as "effects of an oversized capacitor on a long medium voltage electric distribution line" (whatever that means), plus you'll learn that the magnitude of the voltage has an impact on how much power you'll get from the product of potential and current. I find that as I get older I see fewer and fewer black and white issues, everything has nuances and shades of gray. If you dump the indeterminate characteristics of nature on an Engineering freshman you'll chase them to the school of business, it is just too much to get their young heads around, but a flavor of uncertainty would be really useful. I had a Mechanics of Material teacher that stressed that we had to honor the data quality. Let me use and example from another field to illustrate. If a car is going 30 mph +/- 5 mph and you determine stopping time as 2.566666667 seconds then you are wrong. No partial credit, just wrong. If the acceleration term was -20 ft/sec^2 +/- 5 ft/sec^2 then the answer is 2.67 seconds and extra credit would be available if you said it was between 3.44 sec and 1.46 ft/sec (you might get away with 1.467 sec, because of some hang overs from slide rules). Honoring the data was non-negotiable with that guy and most of the class dropped after the first test, but those of us that stayed never implied more precision than the data would support after that semester.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

@sdebock: You get the bonus points!

-handleman, CSWP (The new, easy test)

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

There is one LARGE lesson that ALL successful engineers learn, and if they don't learn it they don't become successful. The harder this lesson is the better it is learned. It is this: the ultimate law of the universe is Murphy's. It is an absolute maxim: if you left any room for a mistake, or a misinterpretation, or a misunderstanding, it WILL happen. Not might, will. There should be at least one course, or at least a seminar or two, in every semester of engineering school on the importance of anticipating the unexpected and taking steps to prevent it.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Thanks for moving this thread. As you can see, this is a much better forum for it. In regard to your query, two items that I believe need to be taught are: UNITS and SIGNIFICANT DIGITS. I think half the problems on Eng Tips would be solved if people understood these two fundamental items. Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but only a bit.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
AMEN joboggs.

David: Really good stuff there. I really like the idea of having the questions throughout the entire course be answered in the appropriate number of significant digits. That is definitely going to make it into my presentation. smile

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

A bit of trivia: I used to work for the same company as 'Murphy' (this is absolutely true). Never met him, but they had a write-up in the group newspaper when he retired.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Occam's Razor should be taught.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

A lot of the young guys I work with could use a lesson in "English for Engineers."

Poor English is fine in internet forums...
Poor English can be worked with if its a US person reading a document from a US person.
Poor English can cause big problems/losses between, US and Quebec English, UK and US, US and German English, etc... it only gets worse.

The world has be getting more global.


RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

AMEN!!!!!!!
I have told several young engineers that they should leave their "texting" habits at the door. If you want to communicate with professionals and be seen as one yourself, you will not ignore the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. I recently received an email from a very sharp young man that I have been helping with some drawings. There were three sentences in his message, one capital letter, one period, and four misspellings. I gave him what I owed to him - a strongly worded response that he is crippling his own advancement.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I've always been quite gifted with words both in written and spoken forms for an Engineer. So I've never had trouble with that issue.

The things I've had problems with 4 months into my career is handling office issues and knowing what work prioritize when my boss keeps dumping things on me that he says are all urgent. I'm not so sure that these things can be taught except through actual experience.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
Terminus are you me? =p

IMO many engineers shouldn't be managers.

As time management relates to the point of this thread... teaching good time management based on actual realistic due dates is something that we will teach in the course. Imagine if I assigned everything to the students on day 1 and said "everything needs to be done asap"?

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Yes it is I!

I am you from an indeterminate amount of time in the Past!

I am here to warn you about things that have already happened and you are very much aware of!

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I would assign 3 years of work on day 1 and set a deadline of the following Monday. Then I'd have a discussion in class of how people prioritized their outrageous assignments. On Day 2 of my 5-Day class I assign two homework problems that each take about 8 hours to do in Excel if you go back to first principles. If you use the techniques from the class and MathCad they each take a half hour. The morning of Day 3 I step them through the way I expected it to be solved and there is always a couple of students that spent most of the night on one or the other problem and didn't start the second. That leads to a discussion of understanding goals, using tools, and "good enough" answers. The discussion is always lively and there are always a few of the students that finally "get it".

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?



I would assign 3 years of work on day 1 and set a deadline of the following Monday.

That sounds like a normal work day in the real world.
B.E.thumbsup

"A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
-George Washington, President of the United States----

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

@handleman

v1/v2 = d1/d2

=>630*48/40=756

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

The real-world application of differential calculus. It is engineering.

- Steve

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

I had a conversation last week with a new Engineer who was a bit bitter about how his university education was irrelevant to his job. No one ever explained to him that most of the curriculum was focused on giving him a basis to build upon. While he would probably never solve an ODE in real life, it was important for him to know that the arithmetic that he would use in real life had a theoretical basis and had not been delivered intact by a benign deity. That is the real risk in an Engineering education--that the graduates will blindly accept a set of processes and equations without question. When Engineers stop questioning they become worse than worthless (and more than a little dangerous).

I teach this by going through common empirical equations and explain where they came from and what were the assumptions and boundary conditions. That might be a useful introductory exercise (since most of the ones in Fluids came from Bernoulli and experiments, not much higher math involved they really lend themselves to this discussion) to write out an equation like the Isothermal Gas Flow Equation and show the term that must be solved iteratively. We pick out the parts that are identifiable to have come from closed-form equations and what parts are empirical fudge factors or the result of narrowing the scope. This segues into looking at the AGA Fully Turbulent Dry Gas Equation and that requires introducing the Moody Diagram and Reynolds Numbers (and Reynolds Numbers are a perfect place to introduce unit analysis, if all the units don't cancel then you did it wrong) a couple of semesters early, but that is one of those things that should be presented several times. This sequence takes about 3 hours to do right so it would be a week in college terms.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

"Belief" is the acceptance of an hypotheses in the absence of data.
"Prejudice" is having an opinion not supported by the preponderance of the data.
"Knowledge" is only found through the accumulation and analysis of data.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

problem solving education starts early, in kindergarden, not in college.
I recall my kids in kindergarden being taught how to add coins, nickels and dimes to get qaurters, except they did not know how to carry he 1 in the addition yet (they only knew how to count till 10), it was all memory.
They were being taught how to tell time, before they knew how to count to 60 so they could not define 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and make the relationship. It was all memory.

Most engineering schools around the world offer a 5-year degree, not a 4-year degree.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

"Mechanical" engineering covers such a wide field of applications and many of those get ever more sophisticated and specialized. This would seem to make it ever more necessary to graduate with a solid grasp of all the basic principles. From there you can build a further understanding in different specialties. That said, I find that 98% of my time on the job only requires concepts that I covered in high school, but having that extra depth for the other 2% makes a huge difference in what I can competently produce.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

First, I heartily endorse the call above for good writing skills. Young engineers need to know that they will be part of a whole team of people, some technical and others not. The ability to transmit technical information to a non-technical audience is critical. But good technical writing requires more than just the ability to spell and punctuate properly. Also critical is the ability to see, assess, evaluate, and transmit the *implications* of various technical options and transmit those to a non-technical audience. Cost implications of course--very important in the real world and barely if ever mentioned in school--but also things like health and safety implications, staff training implications, and so forth. When proposing a particular path for a decision-maker, one has to be able to fully, logically, and properly describe how the selection of Option A over Options B, C, and D was done.

Second, engineering school is all trees and no forest; real life doesn't come at you in little discrete self-contained pieces like it does in school. You have to sort through the muddy confused problem in real life before you can start solving it. I found (and still find) "where do I start" to be the most difficult part of any project. I suppose this kind of thing is supposed to be taught as part of "design project" courses in 3rd and 4th year. In my experience, however, these artificial little "design" scenarios were just as fake as a textbook problem in terms of all the needed data being handed to you on a platter. So maybe how to teach this would be to get in speakers to give presentations on real-live case studies of projects?

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

(OP)
The problem that i'm running into now is that I have 25 years of material to fit into a single semester. These are really things to focus on in every course the students take in the MEC department throughout their four years in school.

In order to do this kind of a thing, you would need a department head that spent his time in industry prior to getting a PHD. Who knows, maybe i'll get there one day.

For now, I'm thinking i'll be just introducing many concepts in the course. Since this is a 100 level course, I think that's where we need to be heading.

Many people have brought up the open-ended question topic. I'm planning on providing something like a "open ended question of the day" in which students are to come up with the additional pieces of information that they need to solve a problem. The point of the exercise would merely be to get the students thinking a little more out side the box. I 'll be starting a new thread in which I get everyone's ideas for simple open ended questions.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

Frusso110, please keep us updated on how it goes with your classroom changes, OK?

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: What mechanical engineering skills do you have, that you wish you gained in college?

KM mentionned
When proposing a particular path for a decision-maker, one has to be able to fully, logically, and properly describe how the selection of Option A over Options B, C, and D was done.

May I add to KM:
I often see proposals indicating three systems to chose from but no recommendation and expect the client to pick and chose his preferred system - Engineers MUST do the analysis and make the Recommendation for the client and state the reason for chosing A over B. Engineers must decide on their choice, and chose the option as if it were their own money.

Please teach your students to approach their suppervisor with answers to their problem (solution A, B, C..) and pick one prior to seeing your supervisor - NOT approach him/her with questions (how do I do that?) - Investigate first, then ask the question.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Resources


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close