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try are utterly unreliable, owing to the size of the specimens tested ; that instead of granite, for example,

. being the very best stone for use in New York City for certain purposes, the rock taken from Manhattan Island is vastly superior in strength. If at the experiment station in New York State, a series of experiments should be made covering the entire state, so as to determine the strength of the building stones of New York State, not only in two-inch cubes, but in columns from ten feet up to eighteen or twenty feet in height, and of suitable sizes, the data obtained would certainly surprise very many present and be of inestimable value and benefit to the building and engineering world. This work being of interstate importance should be done at the expense of the general government and in the respective states.

PROFESSOR C. W. Hall wished to say a few words, partly in defense of his own position and partly in support of Professor Aldrich's “ brief” and summary of the Hale Engineering Experiment Station Bill.

In considering the situation occupied by American institutions, it seems that the present year of the present decade is a time for educators to determine what the situation really is. The government is finding it more and more difficult to secure resources for its ordinary expenditures. Again, support of education, using education in its broad sense, is becoming the settled policy of the government. There are five propositions before the present Congress, as the speaker stated in his paper, providing for the use of national resources to educate the people and thus in the noblest way strengthen the nation. Enough is known of the methods used in securing legislation to make it clear that the advocates of each measure will not take pains to inform legislators of the merits of any bill other than their own. All the measures named are worthy of support.

The speaker was heartily in favor of engineering experiment stations. Yet the broader question is, “What is to be done?” Educators realize that they cannot get everything. One duty devolving upon them is to inform those concerned in the administration of affairs somewhat as to the relations of government to education. If educators do not know what the country wants in the line of educational support, who in this broad land does know? The discussion engaged in this morning is timely; the speaker was glad to have presented the objections which several speakers have brought forward. They have little weight against the main proposition, viz. : government support of high education and national defense, and are urged simply against some particular method of giving that support. The presentation of these points may make it possible to perfect a more economic method than has yet been adopted. It has been said in the discussion that the plans proposed are wasteful; all plans of distributing money in any part of the country are wasteful on the standard of individual economy. There is no district school but has had its experience with a poor teacher, unsatisfactory apparatus, or the building of its school house, and has felt that large sums of money have been wasted. Every college has had its weak department. Indeed, there is no institution but has in some case applied its funds in a way that later judgment would have shown impracticable. Unfortunately it did not have that later judgment as a basis of action. In other words, conditions change from year to year and experience as well as education costs money. Under the Morrill Land Grant Bill, money has been distributed; it has been found that some states realized very little for several times 30,000 acres received; other states, through the far-sighted statesmanship of one or two citizens, have attained to a munificent endowment. New York is a conspicuous example of the advantages reaped from that grant, conferred before it was known what was the best thing to do, when the country was ignorant as to its best needs in education. With the combined experience and knowledge which has been added in a third of a century of conscientious work, educators should be able to advise the government.

The advice given should be along the line of government support rather than government direction. Government direction in this matter is an entirely undesirable thing and not to be countenanced here. Government aid

. for the many institutions is an essential thing if they are to be built up along the line of national strength and defense.

THE SEMINAR METHOD OF INSTRUCTION AS

APPLIED TO ENGINEERING SUBJECTS.

BY FRED P. SPALDING,

Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

Instruction in the subjects required in an engineering course is commonly given either by lectures or through the study of text-books, the latter being often supplemented and explained by lectures. There has already been some discussion before the Society concerning the relative advantages of these methods, each of which has its advocates and both of which are probably employed to some extent by most teach

ers.

The most common practice seems to be to give mathematical subjects requiring close consecutive treatment from a text-book, and subjects of a descriptive nature by lectures, using very generally a brief text as an outline. This, in most cases, seems a satisfactory arrangement, but methods must always be adapted to the teacher ; that with which one succeeds is a failure in the hands of another, and each man must work out a method to suit himself and his work.

The Seminar Method, unlike those already mentioned, seems to have been used only to a very limited extent for engineering subjects, although it is commonly employed for graduate work and frequently in the more advanced undergraduate courses in literature and general science. This method consists essentially in teaching a sub

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ject through the independent research of the student in the library. There are many ways in which such work may be conducted, and the method is susceptible of any number of modifications which may seem necessary

in order to adapt it to particular circumstances.

The subject to be studied may, for instance, be divided into a number of headings, to each of which every student is required to give a certain minimum amount of study, for the purpose of securing a proper distribution of work, as well as to afford a general view of the subject and a proper conception of the relations between the various divisions.

A division of the subject may also be assigned to each student as a theme upon which to prepare a paper

for presentation before the class, the other members of which are expected to discuss the paper or to answer such questions in relation to the matter under consideration as may be raised by the teacher. Or, in place of having papers prepared, dates may be set for the discussion of the various divisions of the subject, any member of the class being liable to be called upon to give the information he may have gathered or to answer questions.

In such work the student should be required to take notes upon all his reading and submit them for examination. These should not be lengthy abstracts, but brief notes, neatly and systematically arranged according to subject, such as may advantageously be used in the thorough investigation of a subject, and admitting of ready reference and indefinite extension.

The arrangement of the work and the amount of assistance to be given the student in his preparation

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