RE: Engineering notebooks?

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From: Lisa Dusseault (
Date: Fri Dec 01 2000 - 16:42:08 PST

Antoun said:

> Hooboy. I gotta disagree with you here. I've worked with a number of
> engineers, at every level of experience, who just didn't even
> realize that
> a notebook was necessary for patent purposes, resist the notion that they
> should keep even the most rudimentary dated notes, and have no clue what
> should go in the notes if they were to keep them.

Sure, these engineers are clueless, but whose responsibility is it to teach
them this? I'd say themselves or their employer, if the employer hires them
without the skill and declines to fire them.

Basically, I feel universities do not exist to teach good habits which are
not part of the core area of study. I don't dispute that good note-taking
is a valuable habit/skill, but I wouldn't call it engineering -- it's a
valuable habit/skill for many occupations.

Other non-engineering habits and skills are just as required to be a
successful engineer: the ability to take orders from one's boss, work in
groups, fill out expense reports, talk to marketing, write polite emails,
review technical proposals, conduct interviews. Employers can certainly
decide if these are important and hire people with these skills or train
them. I've worked with engineers who fly into fits of rage, but I don't
expect their universities to have trained them in etiquette or emotion

Of course this is part of the big discussion of whether universities are
intended to prepare somebody for a career, or to teach a concentrated course
of study. My opinion is that vocational and technical colleges exist for
teaching careers, and universities exist (among other things) for teaching
sciences, arts and engineering, NOT as career preparation. Vocational and
technical colleges might want to go to employers and say "what skills would
you like us to imprint on our graduates?" But I want to be able to go to an
institute of _higher_ learning, where the pressures are _not_ from industry
employers. I went into engineering to study engineering, not to get molded
into some employer's idea of an ideal engineering professional.

> But maybe I'm a big tool, eh?
Don't disrespect the big tool! That is, if you're refering to the Waterloo
Engineering Ridgid Tool...


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