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Labeling: The Most Elusive Missing Basic of Engineering
 

Labeling: The Most Elusive Missing Basic of Engineering

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Sometimes engineering is taught as though equations and numbers are the most important ways to describe technology, but words in the form of names and labels are important to being a successful ...

Sometimes engineering is taught as though equations and numbers are the most important ways to describe technology, but words in the form of names and labels are important to being a successful engineering as well. This presentation is part of iFoundry's freshmen course, "Introduction to the Missing Basics of Engineering in a Creative Era" that covers the largely qualitative thinking skills necessary to being a great engineer.

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    Labeling: The Most Elusive Missing Basic of Engineering Labeling: The Most Elusive Missing Basic of Engineering Presentation Transcript

    • Labeling:The Most Elusive Missing Basic of Engineering
      David E. GoldbergIllinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbana, Illinois 61801 USAdeg@illinois.edu
    • Motivation
      When missing basics listed, people look at list and ask, “What do you mean by labeling?”
      Very important to learn names of components, subsystems & systems of technology.
      Important to assign labels to patterns in data or new systems.
      Use and assignment of terms such a commonplace don’t even notice.
      Sometimes think that equations and numbers are the only tech objects worth knowing.
      Sensitivity to names and labels critical to becoming great engineer.
    • Roadmap
      Socrates, Aristotle & all that.
      Connection to Back of the Napkin.
      Importance of learning tech names & how.
      Senior design example.
      Assigning labels: How & why.
      Senior design revisited.
      Made to Stick.
      The construction of engineering reality.
    • Socrates and Dialectic
      Socrates was a pain in the neck.
      Walked around Athens asking everyone impossible questions.
      Then proved their answers were wrong, but rarely gave an answer himself.
      Nonetheless, Socrates’s method was useful.
      Conversation trying to probe what & how things really are (or might be).
      Socrates (470-399 BCE)
    • Connection to the Napkin
      Six ways of seeing:
      Objects: who & what?
      Quantity: how many & how much?
      Position in space: where?
      Position in time: when?
      Influence & cause: how?
      Purpose or meaning: why?
    • Aristotle and Labeling/Categorization
      Called The Philosopher.
      Amazing range& scope.
      Created basic categories of college curriculum.
      Founded a school the Lyceum.
      We have 1/3 his output (2000 pages in 30 books).
      Categories (10): substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action, and passion.
      Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
    • Names & Labels
      Names as conventional terms used to identify something.
      Labels as tentative naming of phenomenon as part of crticial/creative process.
      Time + social acceptance: label  name.
      Consider
      Extant tech names.
      Labeling of new/unknown phenomena.
    • Connection to the Napkin
      How does Dan Roam start?
      With a circle and a label or name.
      Back of the Napkin is as much about names/labels as about diagrams/pictures.
      Words and pictures are interrelated.
    • Where to Find Names of Tech Objects
      Books: New Way Things Work
      Encyclopedia: www.accessscience.com
      Web: www.howstuffworks.com
      Catalogs: www.grainger.comwww.alliedelec.com
      Trade press:www.entertainmentengineering.comwww.foodengineeringmag.com
      Thomas directory: www.thomasnet.com
    • Example from Senior Design
      Tortilla line.
      Was using too much “dusting flour.”
      Problem: expensive (flour price had risen), maintenance, quality of product.
      Students go to plant.
      Don’t know the names of things, but need them to explain process.
    • Mixer
      11
    • Flour Dusters
      12
    • Die Cutter
      13
    • Labeling
      Want terms that are
      Descriptive
      Memorable
      Why is this important?
      Focuses attention on thing named.
      Saves time in reference to the phenomenon.
      Starting point for further modeling.
      Permits easy social spread of the concept.
      Examples from news, politics & business.
      List iFoundry terms and consider whether they are descriptive and memorable.
    • Critical Examination of iFoundry Terms
      “Category creator” vs. “category enhancer”
      “Missing basics”
      “Cold war engineer”
      “Missed revolutions”
      Are they descriptive?
      Do they have rhetorical intent beyond their function? Approbation, opprobrium, or other values.
    • Abbreviations, Acronyms & Initialisms
      3 terms:
      Abbreviation: shortening of word or phrase.
      Acronym: abbreviation that can be pronounced as a word.
      Initialism: abbreviation formed from initial letters of words.
      Engineering uses abbreviations as shorthand for longer term.
      Abbreviation: iFoundry (Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education).
      Acronym examples: SNAFU (situation normal all fouled up), BASIC (Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).
      Initialism examples: Background, purpose, roadmap: BPR (background, purpose, roadmap), CSL (Coordinated Science Laboratory).
      Rules of usage: lower case for term unless it is a proper name.
      Use of an abbreviation can signal an important label or local term of art.
      Example: The missing basics (MBs) are important to an engineer’s education.
    • Return to Tortilla Problem
      Labeling as initial step in solution.
      Recall problem was too much dusting flour.
      What names might we assign to this problem?
    • A Model of Ideas that Stick
      Sticky: understandable, memorable & effective in changing thought or action.
      Made to Stick model:
      Simple
      Unexpected
      Concrete
      Credible
      Emotional
      Stories
      Forms acronym SUCCES.
    • The Construction of Engineering Reality
      Engineers think of physics and material world.
      All engineered objects are social.
      Searle’s, The Construction of Social Reality (Free Press, 1995),explains.
      Helps us understand social and institutional facts, separate physics from the social.
      Engineered objects are always observer relative.
      Some engineered objects “institutional” in that we must believe they exist for them to exist: E-bay.
      John R. Searle (b. 1932)
    • Summary
      Patron philosophers of questions and labeling.
      Back of the Napkin connections.
      Names versus labels.
      Where can we get proper tech names?
      Naming example from senior design: Tortilla plant.
      Labeling as choice that is descriptive and memorable.
      Examining iFoundry terms.
      Tortilla example redux.
      Made to Stick: How to make ideas even more memorable.
      Engineering is more than physics.
    • Bottom Line
      Names and labeling are so commonplace in language, they’re hidden.
      Engineering school spends little time on the name of things. You should do otherwise.
      Labeling is a critical step in further inquiry.
      Label may be enough of a model, or more modeling may be necessary.
      Either way knowing names and labeling phenomena are first steps on road to better understanding and engineering.