A message from the instructor
I want to offer some guidance to students who have a choice of classes or a choice of sections to take of this particular course (Manufacturing Processes, ISE 232L). I take a somewhat unconventional approach to teaching, and I think it is important that you know at the outset what you can reasonably expect and what you cannot.
The official description of this course in the USC catalog is
Basic manufacturing processes including casting, machining, forming and welding; current trends in manufacturing processes including polymer, ceramic and composite material processing, and electronic device fabrication; introduction to numerical control and computer integrated manufacturing.Our focus is going to be in the reverse order of what is listed there. Primarily, we are interested in automated manufacturing processes that use a digital description to turn raw materials into a product. The course will include a brief overview of industrial manufacturing processes, such as those listed above, but we will then quickly move on to cover more modern technologies. We will also study ideas for future technologies that are not yet in commercial use.
Pros and Cons
My approach to teaching makes this class more challenging in some respects and easier in others.
- You may find this class difficult because I ask you to think about things in unconventional ways. For example, very early in the class, we talk about how things get made in nature, to set a context for understanding manufacturing. You may not be used to thinking about rock formation and embryology as models for manufacturing. Welcome to my world!
- The textbook is online. There are pros and cons to this. You dont have to buy an expensive textbook, but the online text is not free; you pay for access to the Web site. You can use the text anywhere you have access to the Internet if you remember your password. But if you want a hard copy, you have to print it yourself.
- This course is under development and so is the textbook. Again, both pros and cons here. You should know that you are a beta tester (i.e., guinea pig) of this material. Its not fully refined and there are going to be some errors. Be on the lookout, and please let me know whenever you see something you think is not right, from a spelling mistake to an error in logic. The text will be changing throughout the term as I write more material for it and improve on what is already there. I will do my best to flag changes for you and to tell you about them in class, but you will also have to stay on your toes. If you run a print-out at the beginning, it may not be useful for studying by the end of the term because of changes. The advantage of all this is that your text is a dynamic, interactive instrument. Many of the changes during the term will take place as a result of your feedback. If you tell me something isnt clear, a week later you may find a better explanation in the book.
- Fun. I love this subject, and you are going to know that from the first day of class. I love learning about it and I love talking about it. If you were expecting a boring manufacturing class, forget it! If youll pardon my vernacular, this shit is cool!
- I want you involved. I want to hear from you and I want to know whats on your mind. I want to hear your questions and Im going to ask questions of you. If you are shy and retiring and prefer to hide in a corner and not be noticed, that wont be easy here!
- We dont know everything. You dont and I dont either. Im not here to BS you or convince you that Im the manufacturing god. If you ask a question I dont know the answer to, Ill say so. If I think I may be able to get you an answer before the end of the course, Ill tell you that. Likewise, if I ask you a question in class, Ill never criticize you for saying you dont know the answer. When you say you dont know, that opens the door to learning. If you want to see me get mad, try to BS me by making up an answer when you dont know what youre talking about!
What Students have Said about my Teaching
This is a new course, but I taught physics before at Santa Monica College. I tabulated the results of the students anonymous course evaluations at the end of the Winter 2001 term there just before the final exam. The evaluation was completed by nine out of eleven students in the class at the end of the term. It might be significant for you to know that 17 students started the class, of whom six dropped out during the term. Except where indicated otherwise, the scale for answers runs from 5 for excellent through 1 for poor.
|Question||Answer ||No re-sponse|
|The instructors organization of the course is||2|| ||3||3|| ||1|
|The clarity of the lectures and explanations is||1||5||2||1|| || |
|The instructors respect and consideration for students is||4||4||1|| || || |
|The students opportunity to ask questions and/or make comments is||7||1||1|| || || |
|I would describe the instructor to other serious students as being||3||2||2||2|| || |
|The difficulty of the class was (5=very hard, 1=very easy)||5||2||2|| || || |
|How interesting was the class? (5=fascinating, 1=boring)||4||2||3|| || || |
|Was the class fun? (5=barrel of laughs, 1=painful)||2||4||1||1||1|| |
|How important is what you learned for your career goals? (5=critical, 1=insignificant)||2||1||1||4||1|| |
|Are you glad you took this class? (5=very glad, 1=I regret it.)||3||3||2||1|| || |
You can also see some written comments by my physics students at the Web site for that course.
So there you have it. Forewarned is forearmed. I intend this class to offer a challenging and interesting learning opportunity. If thats what youre up for, then lets get started!