Reflection 4 - Knowledge Mining
The Pains And Gains Of Knowledge
In Project Development
Thanks for stopping by! My name is Patrobas Adewumi and I have the privilege and honour of being the project leader for team Delta in our third year Engineering project – Pulse
This is the fourth of the reflection series where I will be sharing my experiences; lessons learned and project progress. Please enjoy!
In the words of Daniel J. Boorstin, “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge”. It is very typical for students in other program to assume that engineering students can be obnoxious, and rightfully so. I have been a victim of this case in more occasions than I wish to admit, more so in my freshman and sophomore years (first and second year) than now. Although I have come a long way, I am nowhere near perfect either in the things I know, or in my self-awareness that I am not an island of knowledge and I need to continuously seek to expand my learning.
Through this project, I have applied engineering principles and skills gained from previous courses and I have gained some more competences such as in soldering and programming microcontrollers. I have been able to acquire these skills by solving impending problems in the project to allow for the progress and completion of the project. All these did not come easily; there have been some challenges involved in harnessing the necessary skills for success in the project. This project enlightened me even more about the fact that engineers are always involved with rapidly changing and evolving technologies. And in some cases, these changes can be significant over a working lifetime, or simply in the lifetime of a project.
Sometimes, these changes can even be in government policies and how such policies can affect technology and innovation. In the case of our project is what I call the LED matrix dilemma. In our bicycle innovation project dubbed Pulse, we have at the rear of a bicycle two 8x8 LED matrices. These LED matrices are responsible for showing the cyclist speed and signalling when a cyclist is about to make a turn.
At the time of developing this idea, my team and I had no knowledge about the flexibility or lack thereof in the government rules in place for cyclist when signalling Our technology was designed to replace the old-fashioned hand signalling which can be distracting for new road users and sometimes unsafe for avid cyclist alike. It only makes sense that cyclist should have this technology since other vehicles do. After discussing this idea with one of our project instructors, Professor Steele, he enlightened us about the law that prevents us from depending solely on that technology for signaling. It was a neat idea and we did not want to scrap it, so we decided to go ahead with it as an additional option for the cyclist when signalling. This part of our project, although seems small is vital to our safety standard for the bicycle.
Tools for managing my growth and development
An important tool that has been made available to me for keeping track of my own knowledge, development and success is journaling (the reflections as required in the course). The project instructors have made this possible through the cuPortfolio assessments implemented. It allows me to be able to look back at the things I have learned and how I can continuously improve myself to be better and more knowledgeable.
Why It Is Important To Gain
Knowledge In Engineering?
As an engineering student, it is my prerogative to not only be a keeper but also a penchant seeker of knowledge. The importance of gaining knowledge is quite evident in my third year project, where I have the opportunity to work on a design project. Through the project Pulse, I have had the opportunity to utilize the theorems and practical skills I have gained along the way in my academic career to bringing the project to life.
Although, the fruit of knowledge is sweet, it seed can be quite tasking to get a hold of it, needless to say grow. I have found that it is easier to not want to learn or use the brain, than it is to use it. This phenomenon can be explained by the science of thinking as discussed by Derek Muller in the video below
He talks about how learning can be easier if the information is familiar to us. Hence, learning by analogy is a great way to promote learning and possibly an easy way to accumulate knowledge, which can later be applied in solving simple everyday problems - engineering.
What Is Knowledge And How Can It
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary knowledge is defined as “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association”. What can be inferred from this definition is that knowledge can be gained through learning – whether in the classroom or from personal experiences.
Sometimes, knowledge can also be gained through the experiences of others. Knowledge can be acquired by going through formal education or technical training. Either ways, knowledge involves the passing of useful information from one person to another for the purpose of edification, growth and learning.
As a student, it is not only required that you learn but also imperative to ones ability to gain new and relevant skills so as to be useful citizens of the society.
The Science Of Thinking
I Am Responsible For My Knowledge
“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don’t know.” – Ambrose Bierce
This quote from Ambrose Bierce perfectly sums up the hard fact about knowledge and learning. I have come to learn that I am responsible for my own learning and development over the course of my career as an engineer. There will always be sometime new to learn, more places to explore and new technologies to innovate. I cannot however, accumulate more knowledge without putting the effort required to gain the skills needed to succeed in the ever-dynamic engineering profession.
One of the ways in which I can gain more knowledge is by learning from professionals and the experience of others in the fields I am interested in growing. A great example of learning from the experiences and expertise of others is having the guest speakers come discuss their work in the professional world with students. The seminars were eye-opening for me, especially when we had Dr. Jason Millar who talked about design ethics and autonomous vehicles and how policies plays into this technologies to ensure that its use is for the good of mankind rather than cause the end of us.
All In All
Knowledge is pain. Pain is gain. Gain is pride.
The gains of acquiring knowledge far exceed the pains involved. So far in my project, I have learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration and how that enhances and promote project success and positive relationships among teammates. I hope to continuously seek knowledge, even outside the reach of engineering, as it is an integral part of being a well-rounded professional.
The importance of honing other non-technical skills cannot be overemphasized. Its importance is evident throughout history and continues to manifest. One of such pivotal moment in the global economy was the need for problem-solvers and thinkers in the financial market after the infamous economic crash of 2008. Banks and other financial institutions began hiring engineers for their ability to look at problems differently and offering pragmatic solutions. Other industries where it is imperative for a well-rounded engineer should gain knowledge about include management, languages, public policy and law (such as the law and ethics of autonomous vehicles and drone technologies in light of the new wave of technology developments and innovations)
In the words of Kofi Annan “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family”
The desire to expanding ones knowledge is the plight towards edification, and the pursuit of freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of exploration. Every new thing learned is an addition to ones value, so I shall keep seeking knowledge.
Thanks for reading!