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Lilja, Edgar D. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 28, No. 3 (December 1923)

Reber, Louis E.
University Extension and its engineering courses,   pp. [45]-47


Page 47


The WISCO.NSIN ENGINEER                                                 
 47
come engineers.   The following are typical: Bridge
Stresses; Electric Design; Geology; Machine Design;
Power Plant Design; Reinforced Concrete; Roads and
Pavements; Roof Trusses; Strength of Materials; Struc-
tural Drafting; Theory of Structures; Accounting;
Business Psychology; Commercial Law; Economics;
Public Speaking; and Spanish.
                 Consultation Groups
  In addition to the correspondence and class method
of teaching the Extension Division has always con-
ducted so-called "consultation groups", which is a step
between the correspondence and class method. An in-
structor meets the group at fixed intervals. The lessons
are sent to Madison, and each lesson is carefully gone
over by the instructor in charge of that work at the
home office. This method has proved a successful one.
       The Men Who Take Engineering Courses
  Of the 2i,oo0 engineering students who have taken
extension courses, by correspondence or in class, it is
but natural to ask who and what are they? Probably
the most interesting answer to this question is the one
based on the student's purpose in taking the course.
  The pattern maker enrolled in a course in mechani-
cal drawing, for example, is found to be studying to im-
prove his skill in his daily task; a draftsman, signed up
for advanced mathematics and machine design, professes
a desire to secure advancement in his job; a high school
graduate takes an extension course to secure university
entrance credits in which he is deficient. A student studies
at home by correspondence while he earns enough to take
him to college. A freshman, having failed to meet the
requirements retrieves himself and regains his standing
by home study; an industrial employe is enrolled in a
course in fuels because he is interested in the reduction
of fuel consumption in his place of employment; an em-
ployer takes the same course for a similar reason; an en-
gineering graduate is enrolled in courses in structures and
reinforced concrete, reviewing and bringing himself up-
to-date as well as supplementing his residence work; a
contractor studies reinforced concrete in order that he
may learn to bid more intelligently and to do his work
in accordance with latest practices; the teacher from
high school, normal school, vocational school, or col-
lege, like other workers, needs constant bringing up-
to-date or desires to acquire addit onal university credit.
Examples might be still further multiplied and a greater
diversity of uses be shown, but only a suggestion is
necessary to demonstrate the significance to the work-
ing adult of instruction which can be taken without
interruption to his earning.
The Engineering Courses W'hich Are Mlost in Demianid
  Of the correspondence courses in engineering, the
following are most in demand: Steam and Gas Engines;
Drawing and Mechanical Design; Structures and Rein-
forced Concrete; Roads and Pavements; Surveying;
Electricity and Magnetism; Direct and Alternating Cur-
rent Machinery; Central Station and Power Distribu-
tion; and Radiotelegraphy.
             Good Instructors a Necessity
  The Extension Division, ranking as a college of the
University, has its own faculty; the members of the
Engineering Staff have been chosen because of their
special qualifications for the extension type of teach-
ing. The technique of this type, for the engineer par-
ticularly, must combine with academic training and
teaching ability a considerable experience in outside
practice. The engineering staff is headed by well-
known men who have become authorities in extension
instruction both on account of the proficiency they have
attained as teachers and by their written work.
         The Development of Suitable Texts
  Early in the history of University Extension, the
problem of texts for engineering courses became one
of primary importance. Books available on the market
did not lend themselves to the requirements of the
method.
  The production of material that would meet the
needs of a widely diversified group of students pre-
sented unique difficulties.  In time, however, these
handicaps were overcome and texts were produced both
by members of the home instructional force and by out-
side specialists brought in for this purpose.
  Engineering and vocational texts prepared for Exten-
sion use when published have met with marked success
both in Extension work and in residence teaching.
  The painstaking method in text production may be
illustrated by the description of the working out of a
single subject.  The preparation of a course on the
gasoline automobile will serve our purpose.
  The development of a course on this subject was
started in 19I3. An outline was formulated which was
tested on twenty-five or thirty classes.  Among the
students enrolled in these classes were some of the best
automobile mechanics in the state. In 1914 the staff
was ready to expand the original outline into a course to
be mimeographed and tried out for another year both
in classes and by correspondence. In 19i5 a conference
of engineering extension instructors was called, and
the mimeographed material was again revised and
finally submitted to the McGraw-Hill Book Co., by
whom   it was published. In T919, partly because of
the rapid developments in automobiles and partly on ac-
count of further teaching experience, the book was re-
vised and reprinted. It has recently passed through a
second revision of its book f orm and is now again on
the press. This volume has not only served the needs
of hundreds of extension students but has been the
fourth best seller of all the texts published baa thei Mc-
Graw-Hill Book Co.,-a veritable "best seller"! Nor is
this book alone in proving the value for residence use of
the text adapted to extension teaching. wenty-five en-
gineering texts have been published and all have proved
to meet a need. Among them are found such volumes as:
   Hool's "Reinforced Concrete Construction" (three
volumes); Jansky's "Elements of Electricity and Mlag-
netism", "Electrical Meters", "Direct-current
Machin-
                 (Concluded on Page 65)
DECEMBER, 1923
4.7


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