Tag Archives: engineering education

Rethinking Hydraulics Lab

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 26 February 2014 – This semester, my hydraulics lab has changed my thoughts about labs. Earlier lab classes that I have taken follow the same format: the professor writes the pre-lab and then we follow the steps without fully needing to understand what is going on.

This semester, our professor has changed the format of the lab so that we are able to design and conduct experiments. Each lab takes two weeks. The first week we are first introduced to the equipment and are able to ask the professor questions how this equipment works and what it is used to find. Then we take a week to research and write a pre-lab, which is is traded with another student who had written a pre-lab for a different experiment. Then in week two we conduct an experiment that was written by another student.

At first I did not like this new process, but after the first two weeks and getting a better clarification from our professor, this has to be one of my favorite labs. I like how we are able to create the lab by telling someone what readings to take and what those readings mean by going through a data analysis. It feels really cool to be the person telling someone what to do during an experiment for once.

This class is helpful because it is giving me a better understand of the equipment I am using by having to figure things out on my own. It is nice to have a piece of equipment and think to yourself “If I turn this knob, what effect it will have on the system?” It is neat being able to figure that out for myself instead of having a professor tell me.

The Truth About Professors

Jessica Borer

Jessica Borer,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 15 March 2012 – Every time a student fills out a course evaluation for an engineering professor, they have the chance of nominating them for the award of Outstanding Professor. The Engineering Ambassadors get the privilege of interviewing the nominees from each program. Not only did this give me a chance to meet professors from other majors but I learned quite a bit about the different roles a professor has. Obviously professors have to make lesson plans and grade our homework and exams but they also need to do research in their specializations. Many of them are also involved with numerous other activities: they have administrative roles within the college, are advisors for university groups, and on top of all this they all have a group of students that they are advisors to personally. They’re just as busy as we are.

One of the questions in the interview process was how they balance all their different roles. The amazing thing about Ohio University is that every single professor we asked said that teaching is their number one priority and all their other responsibilities come after that. This is apparent in almost every class I’ve taken here. Every professor tries to make sure that every student knows they are more than welcome to come to their office any time and ask questions they have about the class or anything else they may be wondering about. OU Professors try their hardest to make sure the students get everything they need to succeed not only in their class but in college. They are a big part of what makes Ohio University so great for undergraduate students.