« AnteriorContinuar »
Correspondence study is the "handy man," so to speak, of all forms of engineering extension work. It can be combined effectively with lecture study, class work, and short courses and makes each one of them more definite and valuable.
The bulletin is another form of extension work so familiar as to need no explanation. The most recent and perhaps most interesting development of this form of extension work is in connection with the engineering experiment station. The extension department is the sales organization for the experiment station. It advertises, popularizes and assists in distributing experiment station wares well as its own particular products.
The extension department has now in press a bulletin entitled "What Iowa State College Can Do for the Municipalities." This is a plain statement of what the experiment station can do in the way of advice and tests. It is a catalog of its wares, so to speak.
The extension department, too, will publish in simple and popular form results of investigations of interest in special lines. It publishes no technical bulletins, these are left entirely to the experiment station. For example, the department has now in press a series of small leaflets on carburetor adjustments for automobile owners. It has already published a gas engine trouble chart. For the public libraries of the state, it has published a list of pamphlets of assistance to librarians interested in vocational education and vocational guidance. Full particulars are given as to the content, publishers and price of each pamphlet.
There is now in press a circular of books recommended for tradesmen and mechanics. All are of a very practical character and sufficiently elementary for the average workman to read. No "popular" treatises are included, for they as a rule, disgust the real craftsman. He knows the difference between simplicity and superficiality. This list contains the name of the book, the author, the price, the publisher and two or three characterizing sentences giving the purpose of the book and the particular class of persons to whom it appeals. The list is, of course, divided according to the different trades and occupations. It is distributed to all public libraries and to any individuals desiring it.
In getting out publications of this sort, the department searches for fields in which plain, concise information is lacking and deavors to get that information to the interested public in readable form. In this, the department is strictly an opportunist. Should questions arise involving scientific research, these are turned over to the experiment station.
It has been our experience many times to meet prejudice on the part of organizations which have been and are engaged in somewhat similar work, such as public night schools, Y. M. C. A's, and social settlements. The secret of success here is co-operation unaccompanied by motives of self-aggrandizement and self-seeking. To assist in organizing and conducting a course in which no engineering extension material is used is perfectly legitimate, provided the work given meets the needs of the parties concerned. The writer has in mind a group of 40 men enrolled in one plant for whom a special course in drawing, adapted to their needs, is furnished by the employer. An extension instructor has assisted in carrying on this work, using but little extension material. The course has been very
successful and the department expects to grant certificates on its completion in accordance with the recommendations of the extension instructor. No work comes to the central office and the expense entailed is very slight, and the men have something which fits their needs better than any extension course now available.
In carrying on this co-operative work, three plans are used, any one of which may be adopted by the co-operating organization. (Plan 1.) All responsibility on the engineering extension department.
(Plan 2.) Joint responsibility.
(Plan 3.) All responsibility taken by the co-operating organization. One of these three plans will be acceptable to almost any organization. The department has had very good success with all three. Summary.
In conclusion, it may be stated that engineering extension cannot hope to reach the large numbers of people that are reached by university extension. The field is too narrow and does not offer the possibility of large popular audiences. On the other hand, the results of its work of instruction can be more definitely seen and stated. Engineering projects will be carried out in accordance with advice received, the efficiency of men will be increased and their wages raised.
In short, engineering extension is intensive and special, university extension is extensive and general. A university extension man may do work in a number of well tried ways and be reasonably sure of success. An engineering extension man must try new methods and run the chance of failure.
Initiative, persistence and adaptability to conditions are the prime requisites, no matter what methods of instruction may be used.
PRESIDENT MARSTON.-I had some interesting reports during the year of the activities of the University of Maine. Dean Boardman will open the formal discussion of Mr. Smith's paper.
ENGINEERING EXTENSION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE.
DEAN H. S. BOARDMAN, ORONO, MAINE.
In writing the following, I fear I have digressed slightly from the topic assigned to me, although I feel that I have kept somewhere within the scope of the discussion. In outlining what I should say, I felt that I wanted to bring before you something of the history of our attempt at Maine to take to the people of the state those things which they will not or cannot come to the university and get. With a rapidly increasing registration, our attention has been held rather closely to meeting the increased calls for organization and development, and it is only recently that we have been able to take an active part in the broader fields.
At the first meeting of the Land Grant College Engineering Association, it was the concensus of opinion of the members that the land grant colleges, through their engineering divisions, should promote the advancement of the industries of their several states by the establishment of experiment stations and the encouragement of extension work in the industrial trades and professions.
The Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Maine has for many years been doing work which has been recognized at home and abroad, and a limited amount of investigation and experimentation has been carried on by the engineering division, although no distinct engineering experiment station has ever been organized.
The engineering faculty has felt for a number of years that there was a field in Maine for engineering extension work, but as no funds were available for its support, and the rapid growth of the institution made so many demands upon their time, the few spasmodic efforts which were made failed to bring definite results. The general attitude has been one of reluctance on the part of the faculty in accepting a situation which was fast developing along lines somewhat similar to those of the agricultural extension work and it was felt that its duty was done when the students who came to the institution were carried through their curricula. It was only when the situation stared us squarely in the face that it was realized that something must be done to start the work. Several attempts were made by sending members of the faculty to lecture before clubs and organizations. These were failures, as it was soon found that a lecture upon a technical subject must be popularized in order to hold the interest of the people and that the personnel of such organizations is not of a type through which the development of true extension work can be carried.
It was not until after the first meeting of the Land Grant College Engineering Association that a start was made in the right way, and, although at the present time, the work is being done mainly as missionary work, and even now the pessimist is in evidence, it is felt that the organization is a live one and that it will grow and produce results worthy of notice.
Our efforts have been directed along two distinct lines, (a) Class work in various parts of the state, and (b) Connection with state commissions.
Last year in order to obtain a definite idea regarding the call for extension work, a card was printed giving notice of our proposed evening classes in mechanical drawing, electricity, steam engineering, shop mathematics, highway engineering, etc. It was indicated that classes in these subjects, or in other engineering or industrial subjects, might be organized and directed by the university in any town or city of the state, if a reasonable number, say six or more, should apply for any one subject. These cards were distributed by various means to different parts of the state. The replies which were received were many and indicated that we would have no difficulty in forming such classes as soon as the necessary funds were available. The class work was begun in Bangor, a city of about 25,000, nine miles distant from the University, through the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce of that place. Classes in mechanical drawing and electricity were organized and successfully conducted two evenings per week. The class in electricity made several trips to the University, where tests were made in the electrical laboratory, and the course showed excellent results. The personnel of the latter class was made up of young men from various companies operating in Bangor, such as the Street Railway Company, the City Lighting Company, the New England Tel. & Tel. Company, and similar con
In addition to the work in Bangor, classes in reading, writing and arithmetic were held in a community of Italians located nearby. These classes were carried on by students of the University under advice of the faculty. A class in analysis and use of fuel was held at one of the pulp mills in this vicinity by the department of chemistry.
This year our plans include work in several parts of the state. The work already begun last year in Bangor is being continued, and, in addition, more advanced work will be offered. A course of seven
lectures is to be given before the Bailey School of Industries located in Bath, a ship building city, upon subjects related to the work of the school. Classes in drawing and shop mathematics are to be conducted in one of the railroad repair shops towns. Arrangements have been made to conduct a course of lectures upon the history of papermaking at the Penobscot Chemical Fiber Company, to be followed by a laboratory course on fuel testing and coal valuation. A duplicate of this work will probably be given during the year at other pulp mills.
The work among the Italians is being continued by the students, and an active interest is being shown by them in teaching at night schools conducted by the different cities and towns.
As our experience is limited, we are feeling our way as we advance and depending upon the experience and advice of the institutions which are more advanced in the development of extension work. We feel, therefore, that we are not qualified to present the most advanced ideas upon the best methods of teaching such classes, the kind of texts to use, etc. From the limited experience we have had, however, it appears that conditions call for texts and methods different from those in common use in classes in the University.
The usual popular lecture does not appear to give the desired results when applied to extension work. A lecture of this kind may be received with enthusiasm and forgotten the next day, unless it is delivered in connection with a course of study upon which it is based and to which it is adapted.
The personnel of extension classes is made up of people with a diversity of training. In many cases the student has not been beyond the grammar grade, although he may have been in high school for one or two years and some may have graduated. A few may be college men who did not take during their course the subject in which they are now interested. Texts containing mathematics and dealing with theory, unless the theory is clothed with a proper disguise, do not appeal to the former type. It is apparently much easier to give this work by the use of specially prepared texts, which contain a maximum amount of so-called "practice" and a minimum amount of theory, leaving the latter to be given as specially prepared notes enforced by lectures by the instructor. These lectures could well be worked up in advance and mimeograph sheets giving a rather comprehensive outline given to the students to prevent the necessity of note taking, which at the best is of questionable value to any student.
Courses requiring laboratory work appear to be the most difficult to conduct as extension work. Local conditions would control the possibilities. Where laboratories of well equipped schools or other industries are available, these could usually be obtained for evening classes. Where the University is near enough, the class can usually take at least a few trips to the institution and have the advantage of its equipment.
Our work has not progressed far enough to require special teachers. As before stated, it is being done without a distinct appropriation for its support and the time devoted to it by members of the faculty is outside of their regular University work. We have on record, however, the approval of our efforts by the Board of Trustees and their promise that, if the present year shows a growing interest in extension work of this kind, more complete and generous arrangements will be made for its support. When this support comes, questions will arise regarding a proper division of our faculty, and we expect to pass through a period of difficult adjustment before
obtaining teachers who shall devote all of their time to this work. I believe it has been the experience of others that a successful college teacher is not always a success in extension work and this indicates that a special force of men is desirable for it. We have graduates of the University distributed over the state and it is our intention to use them as teachers where it is possible. Such a method has been used elsewhere with good results.
We have not attempted correspondence work and probably shall not. This is handled by correspondence schools and it would appear that our efforts can be concentrated upon class work much more efficiently.
At the present time it is not the intention to offer courses for University credit. Such conditions may develop that we can allow certain extension courses to be the equivalent of those of college grade, but such a question must be carefully considered and care taken not to lower the standard of the University work by poor comparisons. It might be possible to weight the different extension courses and place them in groups, thus giving credit for each toward a certificate, but the granting of a degree for part extension work and part University work must be approached with caution.
The object of our connection with state commissions is that we may be of assistance in bettering the conditions existing in the state along the line of better bridges, elimination of grade crossings, improved traffic regulations, improved conservation of water power and storage, better highways, better pay for engineers and assistance to municipalities.
The State of Maine is inclined to be extremely conservative, and has been very slow in recognizing the University as a means of help in solving her many problems. We believe that we are gradually overcoming this feeling and that at last we are to be used by them. The newly organized Highway Commission has already established its road materials testing laboratory at the University, where all its tests upon rocks, sands, gravels, road binders, etc., are being performed. Considerable activity is being shown by the Commission and it is expected that during the next few years many miles of new and improved roads will be built and that our assistance will be asked in many of its problems.
The question of better highway bridges is receiving much attention at the present time. The State Highway Commission has control of the construction of all new bridges and the maintenance for those already in existence. The head of the department of civil engineering has been appointed consulting engineer on bridges and efforts are being made to bring about a policy which will result in more efficient service.
The State of Maine ranks third in the Union for its developed water power, having an aggregate of over 350,000 horse power. With suitable storage facilities and proper regulation, this amount could be increased to over 1,000,000 horse power. The State Water Storage Commission has for many years been doing good work along the lines of conservation and the University has co-operated with them. The new Public Utilities Commission has absorbed the Water Storage and the Railroad Commissions and in the future will, in addition to its other duties, carry on the work of each. We hope to be identified with this commission in many of its activities.
In closing, I wish to express my belief in the good which this organization of representatives from the land grant colleges is accomplishing. I believe that its field of usefulness is almost unlimited, and that by proper efforts the engineering divisions of the