Author Topic: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm  (Read 13161 times)

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Offline c4757p

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[Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« on: September 30, 2013, 01:50:40 pm »
Part of my weekly lab in Electronics was to investigate the function generator a bit... had to connect the "output" and "sync" jacks to the oscilloscope, change the settings and see what happens. One question was something like this: "Vary the frequency, amplitude and offset. For which of these does the Sync signal change, and how?"

Damn labbies had just tried it this morning. Don't know how they got to this point without having done that... but here's what they had done: Output -> ch 1. Sync -> ch 2. Trigger on ch 1. Move offset. Naturally, as the output signal moves, the trigger phase changes, and the sync signal also appears to shift left and right on the screen. Not only did they not have any clue what caused that... they failed to notice that ch1 and ch2 remained in phase relative to each other, which (dear Mary mother of God) is obviously the only thing they can be in phase relative to anyway, so there was obviously no left-right shift as they thought.

But it gets better: somehow, they thought the sync signal was changing amplitude as well, probably because they kept losing the trigger, finding it again, and forgetting what the amplitude had been.

And they were grading students based on their answers and explanations. :palm:

It took me almost five minutes and dragging the professor in to convince them that the sync signal did not change amplitude, offset or phase.

And of course, I was one of the last people they came to. And did they bother addressing this with the other students? Nope... just leave them with their confusion...

But I figured out how this happens! Because we were asked if anybody wanted to work as a lab assistant for the previous class! Yep, they're not even close to being grad students or anything like that - nothing like a traditional TA - they just completed the course last semester! And they're being allowed to actually solve the lab themselves to figure out what answers to accept! Without checking with the prof first! :wtf:

I wonder what they thought the sync signal was for, and why on God's green earth it should vary amplitude and phase as the main signal changes offset.

Anybody want to trade schools with me?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 01:55:37 pm by c4757p »
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Offline JoeO

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 02:13:49 pm »
Where do you go to school?
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 02:17:58 pm »
A certain state university (of New York) located in the general vicinity of Binghamton, which shall be unnamed, since I was perhaps a bit harsh... >:D
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Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 02:25:58 pm »
You may want to consider changing schools.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 02:26:37 pm »
Oh trust me... I have...... I'm here because this is what I can afford... I was at a much better school for a couple years
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Offline smashedProton

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 02:43:10 pm »
I know, but is it an environment that you can get recognized in?  Or are the profs so dumb that they don't realize that you have a gift.  If I were in your shoes I would try to make friends with the profs and get scholarships for grad school.  you have actually seen a resistor IRL, so you have a leg up compared to most phd students.   :-DD
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Offline dfmischler

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 02:44:33 pm »
Would you rather be the class lawyer than the class engineer?  If so, you could offer to negotiate with the university for part of your lab fees back since you are, in fact, instructing the lab assistants.  Tell them the alternative is for you to get the whole lab fee back...
 

Offline JoeO

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 02:47:44 pm »
A certain state university (of New York) located in the general vicinity of Binghamton, which shall be unnamed, since I was perhaps a bit harsh... >:D
I had a feeling... not much has changed since I went there.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 02:49:10 pm »
you have actually seen a resistor IRL, so you have a leg up compared to most phd students.   :-DD

:-DD

The profs (mostly) aren't dumb. My guess is that it's the administrators who have the mental capacity of a newborn chimpanzee... Every instance of stunning stupidity I've encountered there has been the result of some poor guy having to follow a procedure or rule.

I actually really like my electronics professor, and my signals professor is an amazing guy (if a bit scatterbrained at times...). My circuits professor last term was a bit on the "I can solve advanced circuits using differential equations but what does a resistor look like" side, though...
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 02:50:51 pm »
Would you rather be the class lawyer than the class engineer?  If so, you could offer to negotiate with the university for part of your lab fees back since you are, in fact, instructing the lab assistants.  Tell them the alternative is for you to get the whole lab fee back...

I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a rusty spoon.

My lawyerly skills leave much to be desired. :) But I'd love to send them a bill... I've spent a good bit of time teaching the lab assistants, and even better, I usually end up re-teaching all of the week's lessons to my partners because nobody was able to understand it...
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Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 02:56:27 pm »
It does seem unfair that your paying them for the privilege of teaching them.
How long till you graduate?
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 03:00:41 pm »
One more full year of their BS until I have my BS. After then, I'm considering trying to find a job in the Rochester area and going back to RIT part time for my MS, but I don't know if I will bother.

Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 03:02:18 pm by c4757p »
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Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:16:44 pm »
One more full year of their BS until I have my BS. After then, I'm considering trying to find a job in the Rochester area and going back to RIT part time for my MS, but I don't know if I will bother.

Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??

they're trying to cram a bunch of theory into your brains.
From my understanding, it's worse here. First year engineer at my univ is a general program where all engineers are deposited, it's just physics+math+chemistry+english. their gpa on that first year is used to qualify them for specialization programs (EE/ChemE/MatE/MecE etc.) So in reality, actual engineering theory is done in 3 years here which apparently mindf*cks some of them.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 03:23:21 pm »
RIT's BSEE program is five years, and look at this course description for a course the freshmen take:

Quote
Introduction to the practice of electrical engineering including understanding laboratory practice, identifying electronic components, operating generic electronic instruments, building an electronic circuit (Wein Bridge oscillator), measuring and capturing an electronic waveform, schematic entry, modeling and simulation of an electronic circuit (SPICE or equivalent), analyzing a waveform using a commercial software package (MATLAB), and emulating an electronic instrument in software (C programming) . This studio lab course emphasizes a learn-by-doing approach to introduce the student to electrical engineering design practices and tools used throughout the undergraduate program . Each student will prototype and build a functioning electronic circuit .

Freshmen. We're still doing a lot of this.

BU's freshmen don't touch electronics at all, they're stuck doing crap like "WTSN-111: Exploring Engineering"... (Trust me, assholes, I know I want to do electrical engineering, I don't need to "explore" anything.) Sophomores get an overly complicated FPGA dev board shoved in their electronics-virgin faces, because Woo! Digital! and get taught Electrical Circuits by either a guru with little time for them or a moron with plenty, their choice. Juniors get to do real stuff.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 03:31:47 pm by c4757p »
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Offline TimNJ

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2013, 04:35:29 pm »
A certain state university (of New York) located in the general vicinity of Binghamton, which shall be unnamed, since I was perhaps a bit harsh... >:D

Haha! I got accepted to SUNY Binghamton. I was going to go. I'm going to TCNJ instead. I'm a freshman. Yes we have the same bullshit "Introduction to engineering classes", but we also have an EE specialized class. We did boolean algebra the other the day, though that's really nothing more than math. Not too much analog stuff yet. I guess better than nothing. Fun fact.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 04:40:51 pm by TimNJ »
 

Offline ElectroIrradiator

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2013, 04:37:27 pm »
Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??

The universities around here have been making noises about many current day students being way unprepared for their chosen education. It used to be that all freshman CS students had at least some basic idea about programming and generally tinkering with computers, while EE students had some experience with soldering and basic lab technique.

However, ever since TPTB decided we need to cram ever more young people through the higher educational institutions, the average level of relevant 'preparedness' among the freshmen has dropped in proportion. Maybe the situation is similar in the US?
 

Offline TimNJ

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 04:48:26 pm »
Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??

The universities around here have been making noises about many current day students being way unprepared for their chosen education. It used to be that all freshman CS students had at least some basic idea about programming and generally tinkering with computers, while EE students had some experience with soldering and basic lab technique.

However, ever since TPTB decided we need to cram ever more young people through the higher educational institutions, the average level of relevant 'preparedness' among the freshmen has dropped in proportion. Maybe the situation is similar in the US?

Based on the curriculum in my school, I think we won't be entirely unprepared...but if you just do the assigned work (and don't pursue further knowledge), there's no way you'll get any meaningful task straight out of college. Not to say that you can't learn once you're in the workforce...

I really don't know why my school (and others) dick around with so much math. I have to take up to Calc 3, and then take two semesters of "Advanced Engineering Mathematics". Why? Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think that's practical. Not sure what Advanced Eng Mathematics entails but perhaps I should be using that time to learn about something EE related?
 

Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 04:59:37 pm »
Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??

The universities around here have been making noises about many current day students being way unprepared for their chosen education. It used to be that all freshman CS students had at least some basic idea about programming and generally tinkering with computers, while EE students had some experience with soldering and basic lab technique.

However, ever since TPTB decided we need to cram ever more young people through the higher educational institutions, the average level of relevant 'preparedness' among the freshmen has dropped in proportion. Maybe the situation is similar in the US?

Based on the curriculum in my school, I think we won't be entirely unprepared...but if you just do the assigned work (and don't pursue further knowledge), there's no way you'll get any meaningful task straight out of college. Not to say that you can't learn once you're in the workforce...

I really don't know why my school (and others) dick around with so much math. I have to take up to Calc 3, and then take two semesters of "Advanced Engineering Mathematics". Why? Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think that's practical. Not sure what Advanced Eng Mathematics entails but perhaps I should be using that time to learn about something EE related?

probably complex analysis, fourier analysis, green's functions, introductory pdes, probability theory etc.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:01:33 pm by Fsck »
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2013, 05:20:40 pm »
You're lucky you are whining about math while I am away from a proper keyboard... this former math student would have a response to that! >:D

Short form: it's a tool you can add to your toolkit. Sure, you could go through life never having seen a screwdriver, and using only nails or using a butter knife. But isn't it nice to have more tools at your disposal?

I've definitely used integrals and diff eq to solve circuits. Didn't need to, no, but it seemed like a good solution for what I wanted. I like that ability.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 05:39:39 pm by c4757p »
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Offline TimNJ

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2013, 08:24:40 pm »
Fair enough! I'm not completely doubting the curriculum. It just struck me as a lot of math and not so much of the whole engineering thing.

But you seem to know what you're talking about so I'll take your word for it.
 

Offline Spikee

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2013, 09:55:52 pm »
Fair enough! I'm not completely doubting the curriculum. It just struck me as a lot of math and not so much of the whole engineering thing.

But you seem to know what you're talking about so I'll take your word for it.

Same here , I study Embedded Systems Engineering @ uni applied sciences except we don't get a lot of the applied part :P .
I'm 2 year in of the 4 year bachelor program and the only electronics stuff we got were basic stuff (resistors , capacitors , diodes , transistors and mosfets) in the first year. We played waaay more with FPGA's (using altium year one) and now in the XILINXS IDE. All the stuff we did last year during the altium fpga course we have to do again this year. And the teachers are really clueless ...

What we do get is 4 hours of math during engineering courses 2/3 years long ....

I also have to teach the teachers a lot of times ...


The buildup of my study:
1: basic introduction to electronics (to easy) and fpga (reasonable) and pcb design in altium (super uber fking baaad -> you had to drop a few components on a pcb without connecting them and you got 70% out of 100 for that half year course) , introduction to C and C++ , AVR introduction

Project 1: Build 8x8x8 bicolor led cube and display animations (My team got the highest grade) -> I did all the hardware design

Project 2: Build something that gets kids exited in technology -> Made 2 football goals which showed the speed of the ball and gave highscores
(Different team but still got the highest grade (I did all of the pcb design and firmware)

2: Basic introduction to fuzzy (good) ,  control engineering (pid etc... -> 90% math - teacher knows math but does not know enough about the real world part)

Project 3: Get on of those mini helicopters from ebay -> mount altimeter + gyro -> stabilize the heli and fly to 8 meter -> hover 20 secs -> descend to 2 meter -> hover 20sec-> land
All the components are already chosen for you (including micro) because it was to hard for the students last year ...

Project 4: (all software) -> rewrite code of roomba using object orientated bla bla

3: Internship (good) + minor (reasonable)

4: End assignment or something

*For each project you have 6 months

So at the end of the study you don't learn much hardware wise and a little bit more hardware wise.
This is kind of the only study in this country that does hardware and software in the same study (except a 2/3 universities but if those are better ...)

That's why I have followed the Fedevel Altium course , a few Coursera courses and buy good books like the Art of Electronics to learn all that stuff myself. Experiment a lot whit diffrent chips and desing my own pcb's and electronics so I can actually do something when i get my bachelor degree ...

I and others have often suggested ways teachers could use to improve their courses but they don't or they may not.
Dito for the projects -> I and a couple of other students have suggested alternate projects that would be much harder and more professional.
We had some talks but it basically comes down that they don't want to change / improve things  :palm:.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 10:01:36 pm by Spikee »
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2013, 11:19:36 pm »
Ugh... OK, that was actually last week's lab, which a bunch of us had to finish this morning. Just finished this week's lab. It gets even better!

We had to plot the transfer characteristics of a BJT and of a JFET. I had my nice little MPF102 plot all ready to go, and called over the lab guy.

What are those?
VGS...
But why are they negative?
Because these are the curves for the JFET, not the BJT.
Ohhh... but that's not what I have here. They're supposed to be deltas.
"Deltas"?
Yeah.
Relative to... what?
-2 V
Huh? -2V? Why -2V?
Because that's where you started.
(He's right, that's where we started making measurements. But it's not a significant voltage or anything, the only voltage near there is the cutoff voltage, which is closer to -8V for this transistor.)
But... why??
Because... that's the lab.

>:( :--

Hrmm... Excuse me? "That's the lab"?? This ain't my employer, dude, I'm paying you for this. This is a school, I'm here to learn from you, not just "do the lab".

He even kindly showed me how to operate the cursors on the scope to get a delta, just in case I managed to bullshit my way through the previous two labs which also used it.

This is the same shit-for-brains with whom I argued about the function generator.

Would it be unfair of me to accuse this blockhead of having cheated his way to whatever grade was required for him to do this?

So there it is, right from the horse's ass. Rote memorization is always preferable to active learning, no matter how idiotic the teacher.
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Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2013, 11:36:03 pm »
No, he's probably your typical follow the instructions type, it's probably more likely the fault of the lab coordinator/designer/whateverthehell who's setting the rules. I've noticed this trend more in the engineering than the sciences.

eng maths vs science maths: eng tends to be "follow these steps"; sci tends to be "here are a crapload of proofs and abstract theories; go get em."

it's why I hightailed it back to the physics department after a short stint in EE during undergrad. have to enjoy result-oriented labs, so long as the process is well documented
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 11:40:10 pm by Fsck »
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2013, 11:41:22 pm »
I wouldn't be so hard on him if not for the fact that there is one lab assistant who does it right. If there's something wrong like that, she'll actually look at the worksheet, work it out, and go grab the professor if it can't be resolved. She'll make changes right there and sign her name next to them if she can't find him. She's also very kind and pleasant and generally just doesn't try to make people feel stupid. So clearly, you don't need to have a lobotomy before you work as a lab assistant, he just chose to.
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Offline nuhamind2

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2013, 12:35:57 am »
Happen to me too. I spend the previous semester pretending to be stupid because my lab assistant is even more stupid. He don't know how to measure opamp bandwidth even though the worksheet give a clear explanation. Not even know what -20dB mean on funcgen.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2013, 12:37:32 am »
Not realizing that N-channel JFET gate voltages are typically negative, when that's the whole point of the lab, is at least an order of magnitude dumber.
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Offline steve30

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2013, 01:09:04 am »
I don't get what the point of these lab assistants is, but I agree that sometimes you have to play at being stupid. I had to do it a little bit as part of my higher education, partly down to some parts of the syllabus being a bit strange. I think higher education is way too fussy about how things are done (e.g. press this button, then press that one, because that's how its done). :bullshit:

Don't think I ever had to play stupid in my further education, but that was more oriented towards useful skills.
 

Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2013, 01:13:21 am »
Out of curiosity, is the "lab assistant" the only "teacher" in the room?

My stint in EE had a lab instructor with a doctorate and a lab TA grad student.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2013, 01:19:41 am »
The actual professor is usually nearby. Obviously every single student prefers to receive assistance from him, so it's a bit hard to get him.
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Offline Fsck

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2013, 01:22:59 am »
The actual professor is usually nearby. Obviously every single student prefers to receive assistance from him, so it's a bit hard to get him.

yeah, your school sucks. they should both be in the room helping/watching over your shoulder/checking people.
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Offline TimNJ

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2013, 02:25:42 am »
Sorry REALLY off topic question, but what are all these 'element" avatars I see a bunch of people with?
 

Offline skipjackrc4

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2013, 02:32:05 am »
I once had a lab TA tell us that the fundamental frequency of a signal is the one with the highest amplitude on the spectrum analyzer.  Nope. ::)
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #32 on: October 01, 2013, 02:33:54 am »
Sorry REALLY off topic question, but what are all these 'element" avatars I see a bunch of people with?

You can choose them in the profile settings, they're included. I chose the weird one I hadn't heard of ;D

I once had a lab TA tell us that the fundamental frequency of a signal is the one with the highest amplitude on the spectrum analyzer.  Nope. ::)

Well, that's often true... ::)
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Offline TimNJ

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #33 on: October 01, 2013, 02:37:30 am »
Fascinating thanks.
 

Offline skipjackrc4

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #34 on: October 01, 2013, 02:47:44 am »
You can choose them in the profile settings, they're included. I chose the weird one I hadn't heard of ;D

I once had a lab TA tell us that the fundamental frequency of a signal is the one with the highest amplitude on the spectrum analyzer.  Nope. ::)

Well, that's often true... ::)

Not in this case.  He was off by a factor of...a lot. 
 

Offline ignator

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2013, 03:25:07 am »
Does anybody else find it weird that I'm a junior and we're still dicking around with the function generators? Are fresh EE grads really this unprepared??
From reading your many posts, you have the KNACK. Just look at the other students you know, who else has aptitude to convert theory to real world stuff? How many things did you take apart as a kid.I just retired, maybe 5%-10% of the new hires have aptitude. The rest paid for degrees, and every university is now a degree mill. You pay them, and get a BS degree. And after working with these kids for 5 years, they never get it. They stay lost.  No trouble shooting skills, they can't read schematics, and couldn't bias an open collector switch.Now when I was in school early 80's, it was the same thing.  This degree mill university concept started somewhere in the late 70's, and it's turned into a real big money pump. I think it starts with high school guidance counselors, "your smart, you can be an engineer". Never mind that they never had any curiosity for science or math, or ever worked on their car, or anything else.
There are people that think you can make a concert pianist out of anyone if you just teach them to play the piano. In my observation, people with aptitude are born, you can't train this into them.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2013, 04:12:41 am »
I would never blame my HS guidance counselor for encouraging people too much!

Quote
How many things did you take apart as a kid.

Approximately everything.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 10:11:10 pm by c4757p »
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Offline smashedProton

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2013, 06:33:42 am »
Thank you , I was actually thinking about going out of state to RIT.  I have decided to go to WSU next year?  Are there any WSU grads around?
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2013, 10:27:38 am »
Ugh... OK, that was actually last week's lab, which a bunch of us had to finish this morning. Just finished this week's lab. It gets even better!

...

This is the same shit-for-brains with whom I argued about the function generator.

Would it be unfair of me to accuse this blockhead of having cheated his way to whatever grade was required for him to do this?

So there it is, right from the horse's ass. Rote memorization is always preferable to active learning, no matter how idiotic the teacher.

And next time you wounder why we old farts, after decades in the industry, are a tad bitter, think of this guy. These people make it into industry. They won't just magically disappear after uni. You will meet them again and again for decades. Welcome to our world.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2013, 10:33:16 am »
Thank you , I was actually thinking about going out of state to RIT.  I have decided to go to WSU next year?  Are there any WSU grads around?

Wait, are you saying I've discouraged you from going there? I would pretty enthusiastically recommend it. I switched because I could no longer afford to go there, not because this hell hole was preferable...

And next time you wounder why we old farts, after decades in the industry, are a tad bitter, think of this guy. These people make it into industry. They won't just magically disappear after uni. You will meet them again and again for decades. Welcome to our world.

Some of you "old farts" handle it better than others.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2013, 10:53:22 am »
This is kind of the only study in this country that does hardware and software in the same study (except a 2/3 universities but if those are better ...)

So you decided to study something that is neither fish nor fowl. A bit of this, a bit of that. And you are surprised that neither is taught sufficiently? In fact you aren't even getting 50% of each of both subjects, because there is friction and overlaps.

I know this kind of study subjects became popular in recent years. Yeah, well, everything that is advertised with BS like working on the interface between <subject A> and <subject B> or bridging the gap between <subject A> and <subject B> is dangerous ground. Universities offering such studies are often interested in winning a kind of popularity contest. They invent "exciting", obscure combination of subjects instead of providing a solid education. A solid education these days is considered boring and yes, well, it just doesn't feel right ...
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2013, 10:53:59 am »
Some of you "old farts" handle it better than others.

It doesn't sound like you will become one of those.
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Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2013, 11:13:44 am »
There's a difference between passively venting about something that happened to you, and extending that to actively being rude to people who haven't done anything to you because they remind you of people who have.

In a way, I think you have a point, in that I probably shouldn't do that either. Coming on here and ranting about somebody at school might feel good in the short term, but really isn't a good habit to get into and certainly won't amuse an employer. Yes, I have faults. But I would never wantonly insult newbies because they ask me a question.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 11:17:41 am by c4757p »
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Offline steve30

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2013, 09:47:35 pm »
What's the purpose of these lab assistant people? How do they differ from say, the teacher/lecturer?
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2013, 10:06:38 pm »
They are paid less and more plentiful.

They're basically budget undergrad TAs who don't give a damn.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 10:15:27 pm by c4757p »
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Offline Spikee

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2013, 10:51:37 pm »
This is kind of the only study in this country that does hardware and software in the same study (except a 2/3 universities but if those are better ...)

So you decided to study something that is neither fish nor fowl. A bit of this, a bit of that. And you are surprised that neither is taught sufficiently? In fact you aren't even getting 50% of each of both subjects, because there is friction and overlaps.

I know this kind of study subjects became popular in recent years. Yeah, well, everything that is advertised with BS like working on the interface between <subject A> and <subject B> or bridging the gap between <subject A> and <subject B> is dangerous ground. Universities offering such studies are often interested in winning a kind of popularity contest. They invent "exciting", obscure combination of subjects instead of providing a solid education. A solid education these days is considered boring and yes, well, it just doesn't feel right ...

A fun fact: my uni just got the award for being one of the best in the country :P

I also looked at the Electrical Engineering study at the same uni (i already have an degree as an industrial electrician(House installation , S7 PLC, SCADA etc...)
but that is not what i wanted. They do a lot of simulation + circuit design which is good. But the tools they use like Multisim for pcb design don't really compare with Altium that we use. Also they don't see any ict stuff like programming , micro controllers (except Arduino). A friend of mine did that study for one year and even the teachers say that what they are learning is waaay outdated, so that's not what i was looking for.

I was hoping (and was promised) a good mix between embedded programming and hardware design but what i get now just doesn't cut it.
Before i made the decision to do that study i followed some classes and an AVR programming course there and they looked good a the time.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 10:54:47 pm by Spikee »
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Offline IanB

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2013, 01:22:50 am »
What's the purpose of these lab assistant people? How do they differ from say, the teacher/lecturer?

If you let loads of students loose in a lab where they are all working on many different lab experiments at the same time, then there aren't enough lecturers to go around. So they engage lab assistants (usually postgrad students) to help people when they get stuck.

Based on my experience they didn't actually grade or mark work, they just helped you understand the experiment and complete it successfully. You were supposed to write up the lab afterwards and submit your lab book for marking by the professional teaching staff.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline skipjackrc4

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2013, 01:32:32 am »
What's the purpose of these lab assistant people? How do they differ from say, the teacher/lecturer?

If you let loads of students loose in a lab where they are all working on many different lab experiments at the same time, then there aren't enough lecturers to go around. So they engage lab assistants (usually postgrad students) to help people when they get stuck.

Based on my experience they didn't actually grade or mark work, they just helped you understand the experiment and complete it successfully. You were supposed to write up the lab afterwards and submit your lab book for marking by the professional teaching staff.

Here, the TAs run the entire lab, including the grading.  Sometimes this works well, other times it doesn't at all.  Thankfully, I have no more undergraduate labs to do--all my lab work is done in a professional research lab now.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2013, 01:48:07 am »
I'll take your experience any day, Ian. Mine do grade, sort of. (It's all or nothing, you have to call them over to check your work after each section. You may not proceed until the lab ass decides you have perfected the current section. You either get it 100% right, or keep trying until you do.)
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Offline IanB

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2013, 02:01:31 am »
I'll take your experience any day, Ian. Mine do grade, sort of. (It's all or nothing, you have to call them over to check your work after each section. You may not proceed until the lab ass decides you have perfected the current section. You either get it 100% right, or keep trying until you do.)

We were expected to keep a hardcover lab notebook and write up each lab in detail: Objectives, apparatus, experimental method, data gathered, analysis of results, conclusions. The lab book had to be handed in for assessment each week. And this was in the years "BC" too (before computers), so all diagrams had to be done with pencil and ruler and all notes written by hand.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 02:03:41 am by IanB »
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Offline steve30

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #50 on: October 02, 2013, 04:35:09 am »
Hmm, universities sound weird.  :wtf: :bullshit:
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: [Rant] Lab assistant facepalm
« Reply #51 on: October 02, 2013, 06:53:47 pm »
You are lucky, here the uni was forced to add a year of extra study, things like english, remedial maths, remedial science and such basically to try to sort out the stuff that the mostly dysfunctional school system was supposed to have done.

They have good spots and bad, there are a few shade tree schools (literally a school with the only school furniture being the tree) that have good well motivated teachers ( and if you have dealt with the dept you will understand how hard those are to find) who teach the pupils and make them want to learn. Some have consistently had a close to 100% pass rate, and a high proportion who went to uni and succeed. This with the staff being about 10, and 1000 pupils, and with only a chalk board and donated paper and books ( still waiting for the delivery from the dept of the 2001 textbooks, real soon now they hope) as the only equipment. Toilets are a long drop and water is from buckets brought each day by the stronger kids.
 


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