i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpgThis semester, I co-taught a course on the history and philosophy of engineering education for graduate students. One of the students’ final projects was to create an alternative vision of engineering education, in contrast with this video uploaded a short while ago about our department of engineering education:

I confess this video really really bothers me, and I didn’t want this video to be the sole representation of engineering education on YouTube. So, emboldened by this video by Michael Wesch at Kansas State and his Digital Ethnography project, my co-instructors Robin Adams and Karl Smith and I decided to put the task in front of our engineering education PhD students. Our students’ videos are after the jump, and they are AWESOME!

What is Engineering Education?
(Katerina Bagiati, Tiago Forin, Ming-Chien Hsu)

What is engineering education?
(Alejandra Magana, George Ricco, Michele Strutz)

Resuscitating Engineering Education
(Lindsey Nelson, Celia (Rui) Pan, Amy S. Van Epps)

I’m just pleased as punch about these videos. The students worked in groups to come up with their ideas, and worked out ways to actually realize them in a video. So so so cool. So so so pleased with my students.

I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I did.

(Cross-posted at Engineering Education and Engineering Stories.)


  1. #1 random student
    December 20, 2008

    I fixed the permissions so you should be able to embed ours now. Thanks for posting these to the blogosphere!

  2. #2 Arlenna
    December 20, 2008

    I absolutely LOVE these, especially the first one showing what engineering really looks like in the world compared with everybody’s inner vision of it. Your students are amazing! I feel like every department should do something like this!

  3. #3 ScienceWoman
    December 20, 2008

    These are great. I love the second video especially.

  4. #4 Sanguinity
    December 20, 2008

    The first one is awesome. It made me go all teary. Twice.

  5. #5 ...tom...
    December 20, 2008

    From the KSU video): “I facebook through most of my classes“, “I bring my laptop to class but I’m not working on class stuff” and “I spend 2 hours [a day] on my cellphone“.


    These are failings of the educational system..??

    It is also interesting that the 1967 Apollo 13 problem of putting a square filter in a round hole is (apparently) celebrated as a great example of ‘applied’ engineering.


  6. #6 random student
    December 20, 2008

    …tom…(or others)

    Do you have knowledge of more contemporary examples of engineering available in films? I would also be interested in knowing of film examples outside of the aerospace industry. Furthermore “great” is probably reading too much into the selection, “classic” or “available” would serve better as adjectives.

    Also, we have more media in which to engage students; students willingly engage with this media. We could consider how to incorporate ideas from these various media forms into instruction. Even having this assignment media be requested as a YouTube video shifts the dynamics of the assignment. The video my group worked to produce has been viewed over 100 times; the final paper I wrote has been read maybe twice. Because Alice has posted these videos on her blog (and I’m glad she did), I’m tracking the comments left here and continuing to engage in the learning process beyond the class discussions. Granted, I may be the only one of my classmates doing this, but I am learning through the medium that blogging.

  7. #7 A. willow
    December 22, 2008

    Wow,the first video made me want to go straight into engineering.It’s amazing.

  8. #8 Chris P
    December 22, 2008

    Hmm – somehow we seem to be forgetting that to become a good engineer you have to know lots of stuff. You need to know about drawing and making stuff. Trying to design new things without any knowledge of how to make them is useless.

    There are not short cuts. It is really useful to be able to use a lathe or a milling machine.

    Chris Pollard
    Long time mechanical engineer

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