General Engineering Introduction/For Instructors

Traditional education says “Learn this, then you are valuable and can get paid.” Engineering says … “you are paying me to learn something that no-one else knows.” Engineering education is merely an opportunity to practice.

This course is about projects, not paper exercises. The goal of this wikibook is to cover all the reading, exercises and assessment so your energy can be focused on project management.

The projects that this text describes are open ended in the sense that they pickup where previous students left off. You are not expected to have any particular experience with the projects before hand. The prep work is gathering tools, materials, and trying to keep the room organized.

Student AssessmentEdit

It is hoped that your students will read this text, take the practice quizzes and then take your quizzes.

In addition this text raises the expectations that you will grade engineering projects through:

  • engineering notebooks
  • wikiversity pages
  • project completion

In addition, you may want to consider rewarding participation in an engineering club. Here is a expansion of this topic.

Course AssessmentEdit

The first step in Course Assessment is begin collecting the opinions of other engineers. Please refer engineers to this book. Record their opinions. Where possible work their suggestions into the wikibook pages. If the opinions need to be more private, post them in a google doc folder. Use the discussion button on the page to ask access to the google doc folder.


Your primary role in this course is project management rather than content delivery, scaffolding provider, expert in residence.

You can jump into the middle of existing wikiversity projects, read through project ideas, and create new ones. The best project ideas are going to come from your students. Capture them. Reward good ideas with your syllabus.

Create open ended projects here on wikiversity assuming:

projects are never over
students always jump into the middle of existing projects
most projects build upon past work
old documentation is rich enough to be improved rather than thrown away
the most valuable part of a project is the documentation, not something physical


Reward students for finding local engineers to speak to the class. Encourage students to participate in local DIY activities at maker spaces, hacker spaces, MIT Fab Labs, robotics clubs, RC aircraft clubs, Amateur Radio, engineering society events, museum events, high school engineering competition support.


The toughest part of this is going to be celebrating projects. Ideally this is coupled with fund raising and soliciting project ideas from the community.


  • Don't attempt to attach an “educational philosophy” to this course.
  • Capture what students learn, do and create .. don't teach.
  • Trust process, get out of the way and then revise the process.
  • Avoid doing any projects, not before hand, not after wards, avoid preparation.
  • Grade by primarily counting with rubrics, not project success judgment.
  • Offer projects initially with just student resources.
  • Gradually evolve (over years) institutional tools and resources that complement local engineering.


This course has been taught with cardboard, paper and glue. Engineers don't let the lack of materials slow them down. Never let a student stop working on a project because there is a lack of materials. There is always something to be done. Instructors and students that are waiting for proper materials need to find an engineer.

Junk (scrap printers, fax machines, scanners, vacuum cleaners, car parts) inspires students more than new stuff they may be afraid to break. An inkjet printer often has three different types of motors in it. The power supply in every junk PC can replace LiPo batteries for a majority of a project's development life. Start collecting junk.

Force students to deal with material requirements. See what they can gather from their own resources.

No ExpertsEdit

The goal is not to provide any "scaffolding" to support particular projects. The goal is to plunge into projects as quick as possible and only provide "scaffolding" or "tutorials" to support projects as they are unfolding, as needed, just in time, if you or outside experts can.