Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How to make engineering more attractive?

There was a heated discussion on slashdot "Why Students Are Leaving Engineering", relating to an article "Confessions of an Engineering Washout." The discussion is mainly from (engineering) students' point of views.

One of the issue they touched is that their professors and TAs are incompetent teachers. They may be good at research, but they cannot teach (or even communicate). This may be true in American setting, where research is more important than teaching, but the reverse is true in Indonesia (and perhaps other Asian countries). Here, professors, lectureres, and TAs are more focused on teaching. That does not mean that they are better at teaching than their counterparts in America, though.

Here's a lecturer's point of view. (I cannot call myself a professor because here it is a formal thing, which I don't really care. If I were to teach in North America, which I did in Canada, I would be called a professor :-))

I enjoy teaching. That's why I am still staying at the university. One of my goals in teaching is to make complex things easier to understand. I want to make engineering fun. But, most people do not appreciate this. When things look trivial, people take them for granted. Anyway, we (teachers) do make extra effort in preparing our classes.

If less than 50% of the class passed the exam, then there must be something wrong with the teachers, or the exam, or the material, or ... the students. But if all the students got "A"s, it may not be right either. (Some professors felt guilty that they did not do a good job in teaching and gave all the students As. That's not right!)

The thing is, I want my students to be better than me! Otherwise, we as a society is declining, don't you think? I think there's something wrong with education in America. Please, fix it!


Anonymous said...

If you have a look at Indonesian education in general. It's not only wrong, it's all FUCKED UP.

Please fix it.

Sense the sarcasm? The irony? Oh Professor.

ephi said...

TAs? Teaching Assistant? Or Tuition Advisor?

Why not use the word 'docent'? It's technically correct and I believe that's where Indonesian picked the word. Although, it is rarely used.

On the subject, Pak Budi, it's really hard to see a docent that do teach with passion and sense of encouraging students like you do, AFAIK in my 6 years of university only 2 of my docents are like that.

More and more docent are focusing on money and other things rather than educating students.

And it is sad for me to inform you, that one stupid docent even have the nerve asked me out after he persuaded me to grab grade fix form and gave me a better grade.

Deb said...

There are many things that need to be fixed. Since education is a foundation, it would make sense to start there.

As you can see from the verbal attack from "anonymous" there is a great deal of hatred; and "anonymous" unleashes their fury over anything perceived as anti-American. That would include a hatred of those Americans (like me) seeing things that need fixing and speaking out about what's wrong.

Take "No Child Left Behind" Act, for example. It is nothing less than an attempt to privatize schooling for the benefit of the elite/wealthy.

Your wish for education to improve in the US will not happen soon, I'm afraid. We are still headed in the wrong direction. But there is hope. There is always hope.

zakiakhmad said...

Sorry Pak Budi, I haven't read the discusion and the article on the link.

In my opinion, to make engineering more attractive is by having a good experiment (what should i say for: praktikum. Or maybe the lecturer can give a good project related to the subject. So that, the students get more deeper and a new way of understanding.

But in Indonesia, again, we have lac k of facilities to do such a thing like that. Correct me if I am wrong this time.

Anonymous said...

> I think there's something wrong with
> education in America. Please, fix it!

Ini nge blog soal pendidikan "pertukangan" di Indonesia atau di Amerika sih?

Lagian, apa urusan Pak Budi sama pendidikan di Amerika? "Please, fix it!". (sorry kalau terdengar konfrontatif)

Saya pikir akan lebih pas kalau bapak bilangnya: I think there's something wrong with education in __Indonesia__. Let's fix it!

budi said...

Before more people got confused, let me clarify some things.

First of all, dear anonymous, I am not saying that Indonesian education is better than the American's. In fact, I am inclining to say that our education is worse in some area and much worse in some!

Next. Why would I suggest fixing education in America, not Indonesia? Well, I think there is a better chance to fix education in American than in Indonesia. Unfortunately, we need longer time to fix ours (if ever). Yes, I am a bit pesimistic. If America can fix her education, then perhaps we can follow the example(s). As a member of "people of the world", I hope fixing education in America can bring good things to our lives as well.

Ah, I am too North American-oriented. Perhaps I should look at the Europeans instead? Do they have better education?

koen said...

Setidaknya, di Perancis Mas Budi bisa mengaku "professeur" biarpun mengajar di SD, SMP, SMA. Tapi, tentu, barangkali guru SMP di sana lebih baik daripada kebanyakan dosen teknik di Indonesia. Dan sekali lagi membuat kita tergantung pada barang impor.

wanda said...

I believe fixing the "american education" doesn't related at all with our country, unless you became like others "smart people" in this country that leave this place after having great doctoral program outside..dee..what a sad things, who'll fix this "indonesian education" if lecturer like you, who can be assume by lots of people that you're a great ones, has concerned trying to make other countries education better and being pesimistic with his own job as honourable citizen in this country? :(...where are you coming from Sir?
Even me, who always hate this place for being such a hell to their citizen, is never give up for better education especially for my future babies.

endy said...

Hidup pahlawan tanpa tanda jasa..:))

Ronsen said...

Pendidikan di Indonesia, SUCKS!!!

Gua orang Indonesia sendiri yang ngomong! Sekolah muahalnya minta ampun! Sekolah gratis, ehm.., gentengnya pada bocor, Pak!

Eniwei, I still love my country.

Slemania said...

Oh .. profesor to? Kapan?