Episode 131 — Five Years

Chris Gammell returns to The Engineering Commons to discuss how his views on engineering education (and the engineering profession) have evolved over the past five years.

  • Jeff is coming to appreciate that learning is a social event.
  • Massively open online courses (MOOCs) were once thought to be the next “big thing” in education.
  • Our guest for this episode is Chris Gammell, former co-host and founder of The Engineering Commons.
  • The first episode of The Engineering Commons was posted on April 5, 2012.
  • Chris recently returned from a trip to Australia, where he was able to meet Dave Jones, his co-host of seven years on The Amp Hour podcast, for the first time.
  • Our guest is a member of the Chicago workspace known as mHub.
  • Having co-hosted 25 episodes of The Engineering Commons, Chris stepped away to start Contextual Electronics.
  • Carmen attended a short course on power electronics at Virginia Tech over the summer.
  • Brian broaches the subject of how veteran engineers avoid burnout.
  • Chris tries to maintain a “beginner’s mind” (shoshin) as he prepares study materials for his Contextual Electronics members.
  • “Manfacturing isn’t glamorous,” says Chris in a recent blog post for Supplyframe Hardware.
  • Chris and Carmen both wrote posts for Engineer Blogs, a website that has unfortunately been inactive since 2012.
  • Interested in writing about electronics manufacturing? Chris is willing to pay for quality blog posts!
  • We’re pretty sure Chris is pulling our leg when he says his favorite beer discovery in Chicago is Old Style.
  • Our guest can be reached on Twitter as @Chris_Gammell.

Thanks to squidish for use of the photo titled “5.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.

One thought on “Episode 131 — Five Years”

  1. This was a good show! I am a Mechanical Engineering student at Syracuse University – I am a part time student and work full time as a technician at a print shop downtown. I am 30 years old with with 2 boys under 3. That all being said I love to solve problems and proving that nothing is impossible when you set goals. That is the mentality I have had for the past 8 years working as a tech. This passion led me to engineering and the company I work for supports me in going to school. I have to come in at 5 am goto school for 3 or 4 hrs during the day then finish my 8 hr day at work. Its tough! Then trying to find time to study with family and such as well….last semester was my first semester back to school in 12 years. I started out with calc 1 and physics 1(calc based) – I dropped calc 1 because I need to build a better foundation- so pre calc is in the works for the fall. I focused all my attention to physics and got with a few students who helped me unbelievably. They changed the outcome of what was to come. I ended the semester the other day with a C! Exactly what I need for credit for ME. You all and this podcast keeps me motivated. My 1st month back to school at university level had me 2nd guessing is this a good idea??? The more problems and technically difficult things I faced at work and succeeded in kept me motivated. I had a weird paradox bermuda triangle of such going on though while I was struggling the 1st part of the semester. I would goto work and do all these complicated thing to systems of production or machines or managing a project from beginning to end then I would go to school and suck! All the kids coming out of pre calc and AP physics blew my mind! I saod HOW CAN THESE KIDS ALL BE SO SMART?!?! they are fresh on the subject dummy thats how! – so alot of re assurance and finding motivation like this podcast is a driving factor of continuing my education. I want nothing more than to become an engineer. Both of my grandfathers were engineers in the mechanical and aero fields. But back to my main point- the university wont let me sniff at any engineering course until im done with calc 1 2 and 3 – phys 1 and 2 – gen chem – Statics – linear equations – dynamics and thermo- then I can start doving into engineering classes. Its super unmotivating! And I see why so many STEM students are like ya know what HELL NO. My passion for fixing things and seeing succesful results keeps me on track with engineering and listening to you all and relating my own experiences really help me! I have so many more opinions about this being a fresh engineering university student with experience in real work environment- my father owned a print shop for over 40 years so working with machines and in an industrial mechanical setting is natural. I feel like theres a bunch of people in my position that dont persevere and I think the curriculum has alot to do with it. Weed out courses if you may isnt the best way to get kids interested in something they potentially could be highly succesful in. I go to work and get hands on machine experience everyday and at school im being taught the paper side of what im doing already – its very interesting and I love it. I want to be a positive model and motivation for other kids struggling to find themselves as an engineer. I could go on and on – ill stop – LOVE THE SHOW! If you ever want any opinions from a newb engineering student and how I feel and what ive noticed id be happy to talk with all you. Like I said – I found you guys midway through my self questioning period of this semester and you all quickly reassured me to keep persevering. THAT C WASNT EASY!! Lol but ya know what I did it and didnt give up now I have some credit toward my degree! Yes! Keep it movin! Thanks guys!!!

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