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and made to involve no loss of time, then we should probably agree that its preparation is a fitting and advatageous close to the student's work, affording him an opportunity to gain practice in systematic thinking; in the proper arrangement and presentation of his thoughts; in the writing of his native language, in which our technical students are often very deficient; and to gain some useful knowledge of the special technical subject selected for investigation.
Fourth. COURSE OF STUDY.-The fourth and last point of difference to which I will call your attention is this: Owing to the fact that so large a portion of the time is devoted to purely technical work, instead of being filled up, as it is here, with linguistic and general studies—the technical courses of study are in general broader than they are here. The student of civil engineering gets a good deal of instruction in architecture and in mechanical engineering and vice versa. This is, of course, an advantage. There is time, in the foreign schools, to carry the instruction in each subject to an advanced point, and yet to require students to take many different subjects in four years. In our schools this is not possible, owing simply to our low requirements for admission; and where the time is limited, it seems wise to give thorough courses in a few subjects rather than short courses in many.
We see, therefore, that while there are great and radical differences between European and American methods, each is adapted to the condition it has to meet. We have much to learn from European schools, and doubtless they have some things to learn from us. Our technical instruction is in able and progressive hands, and it can be expected to advance in efficiency as rapidly as circumstances will allow. The principal improvement in technical instruction in this country, however, must be looked for through an improvement in the lower or preparatory schools, and a raising of the standard of training and knowledge required for admission to our higher technical schools.
(Of the papers by Professors TALBOT, RICKETTS, SWAIN, and BURR.)
PROFESSOR John GOODMAN (Yorkshire college, England) referring to the paper by Prof. Swain, said he thought Prof. Swain should alter the title of his paper. The remarks he made with respect to the continental European schools might hold, but they certainly did not hold as to the English schools. He believed that the work of the English schools were far ahead of the teaching in the continental schools, and he also believed that they have very much to learn from the American schools of engineering. When first appointed to the chair of engineering of Yorkshire college, he was speaking to one of the Royal commission of the Chicago exposition, who said to him: “Now, the very first opportunity you get, go over and see what the Americans are doing, and you will see there technical education carried out with the greatest efficiency.” He had accordingly visited all the technical schools in the Eastern States, and he must say he was strongly impressed with what he saw. He was hoping to go and see other schools in the United States and hoped to be able to get still further information. The general opinion in England is that the teaching on the continent is not as practical as it ought to be. He believed that the purely theoretical training is carried out there further than is required. He knew, for example, in one of the continental schools of engineering, where certain of the professors occupy three or four lectures in working out very completely the strength of a link of a chain. One of the students came over to London and went to work for a crane maker, and the proprietor said to him early in the morning: “You may just order sent one hundred feet of chain capable of carrying ten tons.” Later in the day, he came and asked the fellow if he had ordered the chain, and he said “no, I have not; I have been figuring it out," and he had used something like two or three quires of foolscap calculating the stresses of all sorts, to find out the dimensions of that chain. The crane maker, taking a book or envelope, said: “Here, that is how to do it," and did it in half a minute. That was the general tendency, he believed, of the continental schools. They train men in such a way that they go into absolutely unnecessary work, and they totally neglect the practical side of engineering work. That is the general impresssion in England, and not from mere heresay. He had visited all the technical schools on the continent, and had very carefully noted their methods of study and work.
Professor Swain had said that the laboratory system is not so thoroughly carried out in Europe as it is in the United States. On the continent of Europe he would admit that it is not, but in England he was quite sure that it was utilized in the highest possible way. He had a one hundred-ton testing machine that would take in bars up to twelve feet long, and they did thoroughly practical work on the largest possible scale.
Then as to Prof. Swain's remarks on lectures being almost useless, he must differ with him there. If the teacher is a man who mumbles and cannot speak properly, then, perhaps, recitations may be better; but with men who have abilities as teachers, it seemed to him that they must have a very much greater power in lecturing than in any amount of mere recitation work. As to text books, he had never came across one that met the requirements. If a text book satisfied him today it would not satisfy him twelve months hence. The world was going forward. Better methods are coming out year by year. Teachers must improve as they go along, and not stick to text books written thirty or forty years ago. We have infinitely better ones now, and our methods of teaching are infinitely superior to Rankine's. Where he went a long ways about it to prove some simple matter, we go right to the point. It seemed to him that the reciting of the text book cannot have the same effect as instruction by lectures.
As regards the use of note books—that they are simply written out in pencil or ink, and then thrown aside, that may have been the case in some institutions. In England, they are very careful with their students in making them keep their note books up to date, and they have well-bound books with good paper, and this made a good deal of difference. The student took his notes fully, as fully as necessary during the lectures, and periodically sent in his note book to the lecturer. He must keep up to the mark in copying full notes, and doing it the same night, if possible. In the case of tabular matter and illustrations they give the students printed matter, and if it is necessary to refer to some complicated bridge structure, photographic prints are used. They also use the lantern. They have complete sets of lantern slides to illustrate all their lectures. They give them photographs also, about the same size as the lantern slides. They stick these in their note books, and also, by the side of these, diagram sketches showing the main features, in the form of a print.
In regard to laboratories, he confessed that in some of the continental schools the mere exhibition is used more than it ought to be. That, however, was not the case in England. Sometimes during the lectures with elementary students they do take them down into the laboratory and show them the physical characteristics of the various materials. After that, the men go there and make experiments themselves. He thought that Prof. Swain was mistaken when he said that the only steam laboratory on the continent is at Munich. He believed that nearly all of the technical schools in Europe now have experimental steam engines of the best possible type.
* In regard to the examination system, he believed the ordinary examination system of simply setting a paper and giving a man three or four hours to answer the questions is radically bad. He thought it was no