Engineering schools are passion-killers. Talented young people arrive with burning ambition, inquisitive minds and a determination to change the world for the better. All too often that is sucked out of them within weeks.
Students are drowned in discrete math and physics until the only survivors are those who cling to the safety of textbooks rather than creating solutions or collaborating with others.
We pour knowledge into the brains of our students and judge them on their ability to regurgitate it.
Students are told they must shape up or ship out. Some colleges even pride themselves on their drop-out rates.
This math-science-death-march weeds out those who do not conform. The result is we lose some of the most-promising engineers.
We have reduced engineering education to a transfer of technical knowledge that eliminates the value – and the joy – of discovering answers to practical problems.
But there is hope on the horizon. Change may be upon us.
LET ME DO IT has become the rallying cry of a growing band of educators who want engineering education to return to its ‘show me, don’t tell me’ roots.
They want to put trust back in the hands and the minds of students: to make things, to embrace the messiness of ambiguity and to truly understand the problems they are trying to solve.
This will only be possible if institutions and educators are prepared to think the unthinkable by challenging the orthodoxies of a system that’s become resistant to change.
Told through the eyes of students, professors and deans from the likes of Stanford, MIT, University of Illinois, Duke, University of Toronto, Bucknell University, University College London and Cambridge University, among others, LET ME DO IT offers a rare glimpse into a radical evolution that may change the way we teach the future leaders of the tech economy.