[sdiy] "State of Electronics" Australian Electronics DesignandManufacture

David G. Dixon dixon at interchange.ubc.ca
Wed Apr 6 18:29:45 CEST 2011

> We have a final-year instrument apprentice (that's control 
> systems, not
> music) at my workplace who was asking me recently why his 
> circuit didn't work (a 741 on stripboard, fixed input 
> voltage, variable feedback to alter the output voltage); he 
> is unable to do basic fault-finding. I spotted a couple of 
> tracks he hasn't cut and asked how he came up with this 
> circuit, he said that the 'lecturer' gave them the diagram 
> because it worked last year and the lecturer gets all his 
> course material from the web (the lad has found complete 
> lessons and homeworks with answers on various sites).
> I asked why is it fixed input and variable feedback and he 
> asked if it could be done any other way!
> I asked what the properties of an ideal op-amp might be and 
> he was clueless.

I'm seeing lots of engineering students now who don't seem to be bothered at
all about not knowing the first thing about what they're doing, even in
fourth year, but who still expect to be given a degree with all the rights
and privileges pertaining thereto.  It's probably the single most
frustrating thing about being an engineering professor today.  Of course, in
most cases, they are getting those degrees.  Once the university takes the
view that students (and their parents) are "customers" and that professors
are "service providers" rather than gatekeepers, it becomes very difficult
to fail anyone.

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