In the fall of 2014, Olin will be removing Design Nature from the curriculum and replacing it with a new course called Statistics and Modeling. Many students lament this change, pointing out that Design Nature was their favorite course and was their first large team project.
Previously, Olin has endorsed hands-on learning, teamwork, and design thinking, but recently, too many students have reported also enjoying their work. According to Design Nature professor Jim Bean, “Olin students are having too much fun. This is Olin College of Engineering, not Olin College of duct-tape and white delrin.” Though Olin students may get a lot of soft skills out of Design Nature, alumni interviewed said they’ve never been able to land a job or internship based on their hot-gluing skills. However, “numbers and stuff” is an area of expertise that is always in demand.
With any change, there will be opposition. Students have expressed concern that first-years will get their classes confused, since they are already required to take ModSim and ModCon. With one more “Modeling” course, students may think Op-Amps control the populations of sharks and rays.
NINJA Jane Doe believes the abundance of modeling classes will be good: “Everything will become a bathtub, and maybe students will finally understand how they work. Have you been in the lounges lately?”
Olin is constantly innovating, and each innovative change leads to more changes. Do you think this is a change long overdue? Is Pass/No Record next?