RANT ALERT: All the college / uni project questions

I wonder if one day we will get a poster asking where to start on making a project that flashes an LED on pin 13 every second ?

Its been my experience that many of these so called learning institutions do little to actually help the students, and just hand them their piece of paper after they have completed x amount of busy work.

Although I might be a little biased at the moment, I just spent a day filling an 80 gallon contractor grade trashbag with old busy-work papers while cleaning my office.

Like this post today?

... we don't have any programming background. We are currently having a thesis project ... Could someone help us in the code'? We really cannot proceed because of this code...

They are hoping to get a major qualification with assistance from this forum. I know a thesis is supposed to be about research, but surely you don't take on a project about which you know nothing?

Yep I think it was that one which spurred me to that rant...

Sure, being a student is all about learning, and yes, a huge body of knowledge exists in this and hundreds of other forums in scores of fields and so it makes sense to pick peoples' brains. But wow, just to ask for a turnkey solution like that makes me wonder if those folks are a) in the right course b) actually went to any classes, labs and tuts and c) why they chose that particular project?

If I was a lecturer I'd be an anonymous member of all the appropriate forums. Then at the students' viva voce exams I'd quiz them on what help they got before confronting them with their threads and failing them.

I think Jimbo, we can expect more of these local questions from our people that passed their matriculant exams with 30 % !

Boffin1: I think Jimbo, we can expect more of these local questions from our people that passed their matriculant exams with 30 % !

Eish.....

sigh, i kind of agree with this rant, but, why respond to it if it is something that makes you want to go on a rant? people may come here thinking that electronic pros/hobbyists are more than happy to do what they're asking of the forum. i certainly did. in my case, im an olderrrr gentleman, retired, disabled veteran, nothing to do nowhere to go, i chose this (arduino) as a hobby. i been fiddling with stuff like this for years, so in some cases a lil refresher is all it takes for me, especially since the language is new to me. so gosh darn it why wont you tell me how to get an led to blink on pin 13!! besides, has anyone tried the search feature on the playground? maybe mine is the only one thats broke then because more often than not it returns nothing! hey, one good rant deserves another :D

My point was not that I don't want to help nor that people should ask.

My rant goes to senior students with no clue how to go about a problem solving exercise other than asking someone else for the answers. I'm an engineer and know what engineering is. It's about solving problems, and sure, the wheel is already round and we should use whatever prior knowledge we can, but I'd fire an engineer who asked others for the answer. I could ask that other person, and cut out the middle man...

grendle: sigh, i kind of agree with this rant

yup, i totally agree with

My rant goes to senior students with no clue how to go about a problem solving exercise other than asking someone else for the answers.

but your a nicer guy than i am, you would fire them, i would hire assasins.

cut out the middle man...

Or woman, I hasten to add.....

I'm getting old and cynical but I do not believe for one nanosecond that the vast majority of these people are at "uni". There is simply no way that someone could get to their "final year project at uni" and be so clueless about electronics and/or programming unless they are majoring in stupidity and sloth. Most of these so-called "final projects" (some even have the gall to call it a thesis) are also so fundamentally trivial that I cannot believe, for that same nanosecond, that any self-respecting "uni" would accept the project as worthwhile and worthy of what are presented as being degree granting institutions. Occams' Razor strongly suggests to me that these threads are initiated by spotty 14-year olds who are just trolling and having "fun".

Pete

Wow... and I thought I was the cynical one!

I must say, I thought that this project in its apparent form of being able to read if 5 sensors are open or closed and deciding what that binary pattern means is way too trivial for a final year engineering project.

Many good points. But I might add it's not always helpful to let such posters get your dandruff up to the point that you have to share your displeasure with the posters and/or their University. It's easy to prejudge and make assumptions and end up responding like so many posters use to do on the avrfrecks site and end up with the site gaining a reputation of being unfriendly and not willing to help new comers.

I share many of the negative comments posted here on many of the request for help, but I really work at just reading such posts/requests and moving on to what I might prejudge as a more worthy question or posting. Life is too short to spend being frustrated unless you really have a solution to share.

One token 'Grumpy' is enough for any one site. :D

"Goggle Engineering" I love that term. ;) At the refinery I worked at before retirement we referred to '"Smoking post engineering", and it wasn't always a negative term. I knew one engineer that said any time he got stuck with a problem he would go sit on the toilet for awhile and a solution would always seem to pop up or out as the case may be. ;)

Lefty

Once again, my rant isn't about not being willing to help. It's about the state of engineering education systems that don't teach a problem problem approach* and which are at a level where telling the pattern from 5 switches is final year stuff.

*Although I suppose asking others for the answer is in itself a problem solving approach?

JimboZA: Once again, my rant isn't about not being willing to help. It's about the state of engineering education systems that don't teach a problem problem approach* and which are at a level where telling the pattern from 5 switches is final year stuff.

*Although I suppose asking others for the answer is in itself a problem solving approach?

So do have a solution to share to improve that state of the world in engineering education? That was my point. One can find no limit of things to complain about the world not being as good as it should be or as good as it once seemed to be.

Think happy thoughts, that's my solution. :D

Lefty

So do have a solution to share to improve that state of the world in engineering education

Yes I do thanks, or at least I hope to become part of one at my current client if some things fall into place. I'm thinking happy thoughts about that...

Ah kids these days ;) I have observed things that concern me with some of the local high-school kids. They seem to assume that they can do complex things, and easily, in areas where they've never even had their feet wet. Once they get into it, and find (gasp) learning curves, bodies of knowledge that they don't have, etc. etc. they get intimidated in a hurry and just back off. No concept of or interest in walking before you run, or investing time and effort. If it's tougher than learning to use a smart phone, then they really have to be motivated.

I blame it on a few things. One, not enough hands-on along the way. Two, our instant-gratification society where we aren't willing to wait for (or work at something for) more than ten minutes. Three, the sheer complexity of current every-day devices, they have become good enough that there is less hint of the complexity within. I wonder if today's engineering students have the time to really understand the foundations of computers and electronics they way we old-timers did because we had the distinct advantage of growing up [u]with[/u] the technology. I told my daughter (CS degree) that she'll never understand computers the way I do because she's never toggled in a bootstrap loader on the front-panel switches. Of course that line got me a deer-in-the-headlights look :D

Last, there are the two kinds of people: Those that know they don't know, and those that don't know they don't know. I'm always on the lookout for the latter!

Just anecdotal stuff from my undoubtedly lopsided point of view. Exceptions abound, and I have no reason to think I'm describing the majority. I certainly hope not.

Possibly another category: the ones who paid others to do their homework and take the occasional test and managed to drift along with a low C average that finally get up to where they have to do something real. If Daddy can't afford a big grant then they may never become President so quick, go cry for help!

One token 'Grumpy' is enough for any one site.

I'll be the token cynic :-)

Pete