Tag Archives: technology

Episode 69 — Credentials

diplomaWe talk with Gary Bertoline about graphics communication, computer-aided design, credentials, and competency-based degree programs in this episode of The Engineering Commons.

  • Adam is less stressed now that he’s earned his professional engineer (PE) license.
  • Our guest for this episode is Gary Bertoline, Dean of Purdue University’s College of Technology. In addition to his administrative work, Dean Bertoline has authored a number of books on graphics communication and computer-aided design (CAD).
  • Graphics is a communication medium, just like language or mathematics.
  • Mental manipulation of figures and objects in three-dimensional space is known as spatial visualization.
  • Jeff is old enough to have taken a drafting course in college that required T-squares, compasses, and triangular scales.
  • Carmen expresses his desire that electrical engineers possess better drafting skills.
  • According to Dean Bertoline, computer gaming can help improve visualization skills. So now you have an excuse!
  • Ancestor to today’s CAD software, Sketchpad was a computer graphics program written in 1963 by Ivan Sutherland. (A YouTube video shows the software in action.)
  • Autodesk and Dassault Systems are large companies that have survived in the competitive computer-aided drafting (CAD) industry.
  • Many modern CAD packages include modules designed to assist with product lifecycle management (PLM).
  • Brian mentions the use of a STEP file, which is an industry standard (ISO 10303) for exchanging 3D model information. The acronym stands for “Standard for the Exchange of Product model data.”
  • HFSS is a commercial finite-element model solver for electromagnetic structures (owned by Ansys). Carmen isn’t sure of the acronym’s meaning, but Wikipedia tell us that it originally stood for “High Frequency Structural Simulator.”
  • Carmen’s “E&M” reference refers to “electricity and magnetism.”
  • Digital models can be made to behave as physical objects through the use of a physics engine, which is software that constrains the models to conform with “real-world” physical phenomena.
  • Professional credentials might take the form of academic degrees, academic certificates, professional certificates, digital badges, or physical artifacts.
  • Gary heads up Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute, which seeks to radically transform the undergraduate educational experience.
  • Purdue is one of 108 United States institutions listed by the Carnegie Foundation as being a very high research activity university.
  • Purdue University’s College of Technology was chartered in 1964, and it currently offers 30 undergraduate degree options across its seven academic departments.
  • The first Polytechnic was École Polytechnique, founded in 1794 and located in Palaiseau, France.
  • One can better understand the development and adoption of innovative technologies using the S Curve Framework.
  • Our guest walks us thorough some of his organization’s early experiences in establishing a competency-based degree program.
  • Jeff inquires whether competency badges might lead to employers defining their own unique sets of required competencies for potential employees.
  • Gary tells us that T-shaped professionals are being sought out by industrial firms.
  • Our guest mentions “Generation on a Tightrope,” a book that argues today’s students need a very different education from the one that their parents received.
  • Also mentioned is “Creating Innovators,” a book that explores how the educational process must change to encourage young people to become innovators.
  • Listeners will find additional information online about Purdue’s College of Technology, and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.
  • Dean Bertoline can be reached via email at: bertoline -=+ at +=- purdue.edu.

Thanks to Jim Kelly for the photo titled “My Diploma.” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.

Episode 59 — Engineering Technology

cnc2We talk with aeronautical engineer Mark French about degrees and careers in Engineering Technology, as well as delving into wind tunnels, guitars, and how to launch a ping-pong ball at supersonic speeds.

  • While Carmen is unsure if he’s a technologist, he’s pretty certain that Daft Punk is Technologic.
  • Our guest for this episode is Mark French, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University.
  • A guitar builder in his spare time, Mark has written two books about guitars: Engineering the Guitar: Theory and Practice and Technology of the Guitar.
  • Many Engineering Technology students transfer in from an engineering program, having found the typical engineering curriculum too abstract.
  • Prior to completing his undergraduate degree, Mark worked as a technician in Virginia Tech’s Stability Wind Tunnel.
  • After graduation, our guest worked as a civilian engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
  • While working for the Air Force, Mark investigated aeroelasticity, optimization and photomechanics.
  • Moving into the corporate world, Mark took a managerial job for Lear Corporation, where his consumption of Tums increased considerably.
  • Our guest moved to an academic job prior to the economic collapse of the auto industry.
  • Mark leads us through a brief discussion of academic ranks within the United States.
  • We again mention the Grinter Report (previously discussed in our episode with guest Dave Goldberg), which permanently altered the focus of engineering education.
  • Mark identifies some of the differences between engineering and engineering technology curriculums.
  • There appears to be a lot of overlap in the jobs that engineers and engineering technologists can compete for in today’s industrial workplace.
  • Carmen describes a History Channel documentary about designing and building the Yeti roller coaster at Walt Disney World. ( see this YouTube video, starting at about 1:25:00.)
  • Jeff mentions the book “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work” by Matthew Crawford.
  • Technology students are not eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam that is required to obtain a Professional Engineering (PE) license. (Commenter David notes that this ruling may vary from state to state.)
  • Mark’s brush with internet fame has come from his involvement in the design and construction of a supersonic ping-pong gun.
  • Videos of the ping-pong gun are available showing the device operating at normal speed, or in super-slow motion.
  • Mark gives good marks to the performance characteristics of Double Happiness (DHS) ping-pong balls.
  • The ping-pong shooter was publicly announced via a short paper submitted to the Arxiv repository.
  • A recent MythBusters episode constructed a supersonic ping-pong cannon. While Mark got a small credit at the end of the show, alas there was no such glory for grad students Jim Stratton and Craig Zehrung.
  • Lighting a charcoal grill with liquid oxygen is another way to gain internet attention.
  • As a result of his interest in guitars, Mark has led guitar building workshops, and also offers a semester-long course in guitar construction.
  • If you want to refresh your engineering skills, you can take a look at the many videos on Mark’s YouTube channel (PurdueMET).
  • Mark can be reached via email: rmfrench ++at++ purdue.edu

Thanks to Andy Malmin for the photograph titled “Nacho on VF-2 Mill.” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.