Why engineering majors switch to English

Discussion in 'Education' started by Wonky Pundit, May 21, 2011.

  1. Wonky Pundit
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    Wonky Pundit USMB's Silent Snowden

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    This article has some decent insights about the topic. It's a little long, but worth reading.

    Why would-be engineers end up as English majors - CNN.com

    My own opinion, having been through this meat grinder, is that the biggest culprit is assigning grades for an entire class to a bell curve. Curves are simply a bullshit way of covering the professor's butt when the administration comes around every once in a while to ask how many students are getting As, Bs, etc.

    Any competent professor should know how to design tests to find out how well a student has mastered the material. If everyone in the class fully masters the material, everyone should get an A. This should be the goal, not something to avoid. Of course, if no one deserves better than a C or D, it's a sign that the quality of the teaching sucks.

    So kids, when you sign up for classes, just say no to the curve.
     
  2. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    My first calculus class at Roosevelt had 44 students. Calculus III had 12 and 10 graduated. While attending Roosevelt, I went three nights a week, worked full time and spent every minute in between studying. Every weekend. Every holiday.

    I've had a lot of different teachers during the years, and the truth is, the more difficult the subject, the fewer people that will be able to complete the course. Of course, great teachers make the course more interesting and there is no doubt about the help they provide. The truth is, not everyone can do it. You can make a great living as a "technician" or a "service engineer" and still have an interesting job. In fact, engineering is one of the most pressure filled jobs you could possibly have.
     
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  3. TheBrain
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    When I was in college, I WAS the curve. :lol:
     
  4. Mr. H.
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    It could also be a sign that the students suck.

    I can understand questioning a teacher in instances with respect to classes such as Liberal Arts studies... but math? Physics?

    Math and physics is like baking a cake. You have a recipe... you plug it in, you crank it out.

    Liberal arts bakes the brain. Toss it into a food processor, see what comes out. The professor's evaluation of the product is much more subjective than that of a student of math or physics.
     
  5. Quantum Windbag
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    I know people that think that engineers are the stupid people who can't handle real science. I also know engineers who can build anything once someone convinces them it is possible. Personally, I think the engineers are the smarter ones, but the science guys are a real close second. I never met an engineer who was stressed though, what makes it pressure filled?
     
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    Maybe all the teachers of the hard stuff are Republicans and the English teachers are all Democrats.

    News: Red Grader, Blue Grader - Inside Higher Ed
     
  7. Wonky Pundit
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    Back in the 60s, people somehow got this misguided idea that every high school student in the country should go on to college. IMO, this mindset has a lot to do with the high dropout rates.

    Plenty of people, while far from stupid, are simply not academically inclined. These kids should be attending trade schools or vocational schools instead, and they can still make a good living afterwards, instead of being overeducated and underemployed.
     
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  8. Wonky Pundit
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    That's true up to a point, but in practice, many of those recipes are very long and very complicated. So, what happens is that the professor (or grader) ends up giving partial credit for working the problem - even if the final answer is wrong - as long as the approach can demonstrate an understanding of the solution.

    Needless to say, this method of grading can open up a huge can of worms, but without it you'd likely have at least a 90% failure rate.
     
  9. xsited1
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    Many Scientists call Engineers "Educated Idiots." There is some truth to that because Engineering students usually study the 'how' and not the 'why'. Consequently, they learn which equations to use to solve a problem, but they don't know where that equation came from or how it was derived. That said, there are a lot of bad Scientists, too. And Engineering jobs are usually very stressful.

    I will be forced to positive rep rdean. Truly, the end of the world is nigh.
     
  10. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Is it my imagination or does it actually HELP to have Aspergers syndrome to be an engineer? (that's not a slam BTW, I don't think most Aspergers is a disease, I think it's just a person who, on the personality scale of interpersonal intelligence is a couple deviations from the norm)

    I think you don't pick your major, I think (if you're lucky) you are born to it.

    I remember my the subject matter of first class in history.

    That took place in 1957.

    My teacher's name Hoffenberger.

    The subject matter was the firing upon Fort Sumter.

    I suspect I was destined by genetics to study the social sciences just like some of us are destined by character and intelligence to study hard sciences or languages, or dance or engineering.

    We are what are, and if we're lucky we find out what that is and society happens to reward those traits well enough to get by.
     

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