Adonis Diaries

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Mar Sassine is depicted in pictures as a long white bearded angry specimen, holding a broad sharp sword, slaying a “heretic infidel”. An early version of Christian Daeshis?

Posted on September 3, 2018

Mon cher Ado,( Part 9)

Autrefois, à Mar Sassine, (Saint Sassine church) les femmes occupaient les rangées de gauche et les hommes ceux de droite. Aujourd’hui on se mélange , tout est embrouillé .

Le dimanche et les jours de fête , tout le monde était joliment habillé . Les femmes et les jeunes filles étaient chapeautées ou bien se couvraient la tête avec de belles écharpes .

Les hommes quant à eux ils devaient se décoiffer dès qu’ils franchissaient le porche de l’église . La plupart étaient costumés avec des chemises blanches. Certains d’entre eux s’habillaient encore à l’ancienne avec une chemise blanche sans col , et un serwal (sherwal), et un fez indispensable (tarboush) qui les rehaussait de quelques centimètres et leur donnait l’air vainqueurs .

J’ai toujours en mémoire quelques uns de la génération de mon grand-père qui n’arrivaient pas à se débarrasser de leurs habits folkloriques .

Le temps s’est chargé de les retirer , les uns après les autres , du tableau de mon enfance .

A l’église, ma grand-mère , Farfoura, et ses copines , Olga Boudalha et Marie Farah , occupaient les premiers rangs de gauche . La messe finie, et après avoir offert leurs prières à Mar Sessine afin qu’il intercède pour elles auprès de Dieu qui devrait exaucer leurs vœux , elles se retrouvaient chez l’une ou l’autre pour siroter un de ces bons café qu’elle savaient si bien préparer à feu doux .

Marie Farah était d’une gentillesse à nulle autre pareille ! Quand j’arrivais parfois chez elle pour voir mon copain Charlot, elle m’accueillait avec son sourire Angélique et tenait toujours à m’ offrir une douceur qu’elle avait préparée et qu’elle gardait dans une boîte au fond du buffet .

Tout cela est du passé, même la maison a changé de look , ce n’est plus la belle maison de mon enfance avec son jardin fleuri et le néflier qui nous accueillait à bras ouvert quand il était chargé de ses fruits succulents .
………….
Il faut savoir que l’église de Mar Sassine est celle de la famille Bejjani, car chaque famille dans notre village à son église , de la sorte qu’on a à Beit-Chabab 16 églises .

Les branches de notre famille sont nombreuses : il y a les Boudebs , les Farah, les Bou-Hanna, les Gebraiel , les Jabr , les Tohme , (les Bouhatab?) et d’autres encore …

A l’église, tout en écoutant la messe, nous observions les jeunes filles aussi belles les unes que les autres!

De ma vie , mon cher Ado, je n’ai rencontré d’aussi belles ! (Miopia might have set in, or definitely I was indifferent then).

Serait ce le fait de l’adolescence ? Ne tarde pas à me rassurer que je ne divague pas ? (Que sais-je? Peut-etre les deux?)

Ce qui m’impressionnait au cours de la messe, c’était lorsque bouna Liés  (Elias), le père de celui qui officie aujourd’hui , car bouna Liés , l’ancien , était marié et avait plus de 10 enfants . (Elias I, Elias II, Elias III…?)

Et bien c’était lorsqu’il entonnait ses prières avec sa voix de ténor , une voix filtrée par barbe blanche qui lui couvrait toute la poitrine et même une partie du ventre , alors que Fares Boudebs faisait la quête avec son panier à la main, précédé de son ventre qu’il avait développé aux cours de ses années passées en Afrique .

Aujourd’hui , c’est son neveu , Josèphe Boudebs qui se charge de faire la quête , à croire que cette charge est allouée aux Boudebs , demain ce sera un des enfants de ma tante Rose qui a eu la belle idée d’épouser un jeune homme de la famille Boudebs. J’attends de voir qui sera le suivant?

Ça m’étonne que Said se charge de cette besogne , encore moins Jean-Pierre , il est donc fort probable que ce sera Farouk ! (Or the wife of one of them?)

(Probablement ce sera une fille des Boudebs? Ca vaudra le sacrifice pour agrandir la quete pour les expenses récente de l’amélioration de l’église. Bernard Gsoub a contribué’ à l’embellissement).

Note: Aunt Marie Farah was the sister of my grandfather Tanios (Antony). Her husband was an elected Mokhtar, someone who knows all the citizens in his quarter and signs on many official transactions. Marie would prohibit her husband to pocket his money dues on the transactions I submitted to him.

What’s that concept of Human factors in Design?

Posted on September 20, 2008 (written from 2003-2006)

 What is this Human Factors profession?

 Summary of Articles numbers                                                                                              

1.  “What is your job?”                                                                                                  

2.  “Sorry, you said Human Factors in Engineering?”                                                

3.  “So, you want systems to fit people?”                                                                   

4.  “The rights of the beast of burden; like a donkey?”                                              

5.  “Who could afford to hire Human Factors engineers?”                             

6.  “In peace time, why and how often are Human Factors hired?                    

7.  “What message should the Human Factors profession transmit?”                          

8.  “What do you design again?”                                                                                         

9.  “Besides displays and controls, what other interfaces do you design?”                 

10.  “How Human Factors gets involved in the Safety and Health of end users?”    

11.  “What kind of methods will I have to manipulate and start worrying about?” 

12.  “What are the error taxonomies in Human Factors?”                                 

13.  “What are the task taxonomies and how basic are they in HF?”                           

14.  “How useful are taxonomies of methods?”                                                               

15.  “Are occupational safety and health standards and regulations of any concern for the HF professionals?”                                                                                                       

16.  “Are there any major cross over between HF and safety engineering?”            

17.  “Tell us about a few of your teaching methods and anecdotes”                            

18.  “What this general course in Human Factors covers?”                                         

19.  “Could one general course in Human Factors make a dent in a career behavior?”                                                                                                                     

20.  “How would you like to fit Human Factors in the engineering curriculum?”  

21.  “How to restructure engineering curriculum to respond to end users demands?”

22.  “How can a class assimilate a course material of 1000 pages?”                             

23.  “What undergraduate students care about university courses?”                            

24.  “Students’ feedback on my teaching method”                                              

25.  “My pet project for undergraduate engineering curriculum”                      

26.  “Guess what my job is”                                                                                              

27.  “Do you know what your folk’s jobs are?”                                                              

28.  “How do you perceive the inspection job to mean?”                                               

29.  “How objective and scientific is a research?” 

30.  “How objective and scientific are experiments?”                                                   

31.   “A seminar on a multidisciplinary view of design”                                                  

32.  “Consumer Product Liability Engineering”                                                                 

33.  “How could you tell long and good stories from HF graphs?”                               

34.  “What message has the Human Factors profession been sending?”       

35. “Who should be in charge of workspace design?”                                                  

36.  “Efficiency of the human body structure and mind”                                                

37.  “Psycho-physical method”                                                                                       

38.  “Human factors performance criteria”                                                      

39.  “Fundamentals of controlled experimentation methods”                                      

40.  “Experimentation: natural sciences versus people’s behavior sciences”            

41.  “What do Human Factors measure?”                                                                   

42.  “New semester, new approach to teaching the course”                                       

43.  “Controlled experimentation versus Evaluation and Testing methods”               

44.  “Phases in the process of system/mission analyses”                                             

45.   “Main errors and mistakes in controlled experimentations”                   

46.  “Human Factors versus Industrial, Computer, and traditional engineering” 

47.  “How Human Factors are considered at the NASA jet propulsion laboratory”

48.  “Efficiency of the human cognitive power or mind”                                               

49.  “Human Factors versus Artificial Intelligence”                                                     

50.  Computational Rationality in Artificial Intelligence                                               

51.  “Basic Engineering and Physics Problems Transformed Mathematically”     

52.  Mathematics: a unifying abstraction for Engineering and Physics                        

53. How to optimize human potentials in businesses for profit                                      

Cases of “Historical Dialectics” of human and knowledge development

Posted on December 23, 2009

Dialectics is not only used to comprehend historical development of human/knowledge development but is basic in discussions and effective dialogues.

Hegel was first to introduce “dynamic logic” and used the term of historical dialectics as the interaction of an extreme opinion (thesis) that generates an opposite extreme counter opinion (antithesis) which results in a consensus (synthesis). 

Historical dialectics is a macro method for long range study and it does not explain the individual existential conditions (survival situations). 

Hegel offered dialectics as a method for explaining how human knowledge developed by constant struggle between contradictory concepts among philosophical groups. The purpose of his method was to demonstrate how the “universe of the spirit” or ideas managed to be raised in human consciousness.

Before I offer my version of knowledge development it might be useful to give a few examples of historical dialectics.

In Antiquity, the pre-Socratic philosophers were divided between the Eleatics or philosophers who claimed that change of primeval substances was impossible: we cannot rely on our senses. 

Heraclites reacted with his position that we can rely on our senses and that everything in the universe is in a state of flow and that no substance remains in its place.  

The synthesis came from Empedocles who claimed that we can rely on our senses but that what flow are the combination of substances, though the elementary particles do not change. 

The Sophists during Socrates were the paid teachers of the elite classes and tore down the mythological teaching of the period and focused on improving individual level of learning.

They were in effect in demand by a nascent City-State democracy of Athens that relied on a better educated society to participate in the political system.

Socrates reacted by proposing that there are fundamental truths, and that knowledge is Not an exercise in rhetorical discourse. The same dialectics worked between the world of ideas of Plato and the empirical method counterpoint of Aristotle.

In the Medieval period the Catholic Church set up a barrier or distance between God and man and forced people to believe that all knowledge emanates from God.  

The Renaissance man (wanting to be knowledgeable in many disciplines) reacted by promoting the concepts that God is in every element, that man is a complete microcosm of the universe, and that knowledge starts by observing nature and man.

Another example is the position of Descartes who established that rationalism was the main source for knowledge. 

David Hume responded by extending that empirical facts are generated from our senses that are the basis for knowledge.

Kant offered the synthesis that the senses are the primary sources for our impressions but it is our perceptual faculties that describe and view the world: there is a distinction between “matter” of knowledge or the “thing in itself” and “form” of knowledge or the “thing for me”. Kant became the point of departure for another chain of dialectical reflections.

Many philosophers used the dialectic methods to explaining other forms of development.  

Karl Marx wrote that Hegel used his method standing on its head instead of considering human material conditions. Marx claimed that “philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it”.

Thus, Marx defined three levels as basis of society: condition of production (mainly the geographic, natural resources, and climatic conditions), means of production (such as machineries and tools), and production relations (such as political institutions, division of labor, distribution of work and ownership).

Marx claimed that the main interactions are among the working class (the new slaving method of production) and the owners of the means of productions or the ruling class: it is this struggle that develop the spiritual progress

Another dialectical process is the extreme feminist political claims of equality between genders which brought about a consensus synthesis for a period.

My view of progress is based on the analogy of combination of two schemas:

The first schema is the coexistence of two strings of evolution (picture a DNA shape): the knowledge development (mainly technological) and the moral string (dominated mainly by religious ideologies).  

The second schema is represented by historical dialectic evolutions in the shape of helical cones. The time lengths of cycles for the two strings are not constant: the technological progress phase has shorter and shorter cycles while the moral string has longer cycles.

The two strings are intertwined and clashes frequently. 

When one string overshadow the other string in evolution then there are a slow counter-reaction culminating in stagnate status-quo phases between the two forces.

Technological or level of sustenance period has time length cycles that is shrinking at the top of the cone before the cone is inverted on its head so that the moral time length cycles start to increase and appears almost invariant (that what happened in the long Medieval period that stretched for over 11 centuries in Europe). Then the cone is reverted on its base for the next “rebirth” cycles (for example the Renaissance period that accelerated the knowledge string ascent).

Note 1: Currently, the technological progress is overwhelming and the mythological string is countering this vigorous cycle: Racism, apartheid, far-right exclusion organization and massive sanctions on entire people based on geopolitical antagonism…

The worst of time started when nature was considered a means to increase capitalism “profit” through massive exploitation of people and nature. Looks like the viability of Earth is on a trend of doom for most living species.

And technology is proven to be very limited in countering the weak moral trend of ignoring the foundation for our existence

Note 2: The Islamic empire that lasted 9 centuries also struggled between religious ideologies and rational thinking. This empire witnessed two short renaissance of the mind and generated countless scientific breakthrough that Medieval Europe tried hard to oppose and to translate.

New semester, new approach to teaching this complex course of Human Factors in engineering?

Posted on October 26, 2008 (and written in April 6, 2006. Article #42 )

Usually, over 60 students enroll in my class, and the administration refused to split my course into 2 classes to maximize “profit”.

In retaliation, this semester only ten students were allowed to enrolled for my class; one is a computer engineer finishing his degree and the remaining are industrial engineers.  As a reminder, this course is required for Industrial engineers IE

The other engineering disciplines managed to open up new elective courses for each one of them, and were trying to market them at the expense of the wishes of many students who wanted to take my course and their petitions were denied.

With this reduced class number, I had to capitalize on the advantages of smaller classes, once the shock is under control.  

This semester, methods applied in human factors engineering are the focus: Having the previous semester in the body of varied knowledge in the course materials might encourage my class to appreciate the efforts and time invested by the pool of human factors researchers and professionals to make available practical design guidelines for the other engineering professions.

Whereas in the previous semesters I shun away from exposing my class to new methods, except teaching them explicitly the concept of controlled experimentations, like the differences among dependent, independent and controlled variables.

I endeavored to correct their misunderstanding, thinking that there was an abundance of knowledge to assimilate for a meager semester in the previous semesters, I boldly changed direction in my teaching approach by investing more time on exposing and explaining the various methods that human factors might be applying in their profession.  

The first assignment was using excel to compare 40 methods used in human factors, industrial engineering, industrial psychology, and designers of intelligent machines.  

This assignment was a version of article #14, about the taxonomy of methods, from 20 articles that I wrote the previous years and offered them as an introduction to the course, in addition to the course materials.

The students were supposed to select five categories from more than the dozen ways to classifying methods such as definition, purpose, applications, inputs, processes, procedures, output/product, mathematical requirements, disciplines teaching them, advantages, disadvantages, sources/links, connections with other methods, and comments.

I expected that, as engineers, they would logically select for the columns applications, input, procedure, output, and comments because they are what define a method. But somehow, they opted for applications, procedures, advantages, disadvantages, and comments mainly because it is how the internet offer information.  

After 3 students submitted their assignment on time I handed them over 40 summary sheets for the 16 methods used to analyzing a system or a mission, at least 2 sheets for each of 16 methods, one sheet on the purpose, input, procedure, and output/product of the method and the other sheets as examples of what the output is expected to look for presentation.

I then asked the less performing students to concentrate on only the 16 methods for their assignment and most of them did not submit this assignment even two months later.

So far I used up six sessions for methods or related topics such as the methods applied in the process of analyzing systems’ performance, psychophysical procedures, the fundamentals of controlled experimentation methods, human factors performance criteria, and what human factors “measure/data” in their experiments. 

As for the body of knowledge I extract a few facts from experiments and asked them to participate in providing me with the rationales or processes that might explain these facts.

For example, if data show that females on average are two third the strength of males then what could be the underlying causes for that discovery?  

Could that fact be explained by the length of the muscles, the cross section thickness of the muscles, the number of muscle fibers, or the length of the corresponding bones?

Facts are entertaining but I figured that they are big boys to be constantly entertained while shovelful of money is being spent for their university education.

Facts are entertaining but there have to come a time when these big boys stop and wonder at the brain power, Herculean patience, and hard work behind these amusing sessions.

The next assignment was to observe the business of the main family’s bread earner, note down the minute tasks of his typical day work, learn about the business by attempting to generate detailed answers from a questionnaire they have to develop based on a set of investigative query and problems related to human factors performance criteria in the assignment sheet…

And to report back what are the routine and daily tasks that enabled the students to join a university.  

Three students worked with their fathers’ in summer times and enjoyed the assignment; the remaining students could not shake off their 8th grade habits, wrote the questionnaire, mailed it, and waited for the answers.  

I was expecting that the students would apply the methodology they learned in analyzing systems such as activity, decision, and task analyses… but the good stuff was not forthcoming.

To encourage them to cater to the business that they might inherit, I assigned them a lecture project that would generate the requisite analyses with a clear objective of focusing on near-accidents, foreseeable errors, safety of the workers and health conditions in the workplace.

So far, the products of the two quizzes were complete failures. Funny, although most of the questions in the second quiz were from the same chapter sources as the first quiz, it is amazing how ill prepared are the students for assimilating or focusing on the essential ideas, concepts, and methods.

With a third of the semester over, I can points to only two students who are delivering serious investment in time, hard work, and excitement and are shooting for a deserved grade of A.

A friend passed away: Maitre Farès Zoghbi (with 50,000 manuscripts private library, opened to all)

Posted on August 12, 2015

He passed away, Maitre Phares Zoghby. He owned the private library in Kornet Chehwan that I patronized in the last 10 years.

The burial ceremony is today Monday at 4:30 at the Church of St. Paul and Pierre.
I posted extensive reviews of his 2 published books and a couple of articles on the library and how it was run.

Maitre Zoghbi was handicapped in the last 4 years and could not come down to the lower level of his library to meet with the readers.


When Maitre Zoghby could come down to the lower floor of the library, he would ask Rita Zoghbi (manager of the library) to call me up when I failed to show up and check if I was sick…

Nada CORBANI AKL (she represented the Jesuit university to care for the library before her retirement) wrote in the French daily:

C’était un humaniste doublé d’un philanthrope, un ami de la culture, un homme qui avait trouvé pour l’un de ses ouvrages ce titre admirable : Le salut par la culture. Il y croyait.


Né en 1918 au Brezil, transfere au Liban a l’ age de 13 ans,  licencié en droit de l’USJ en 1943, Farès Zoghbi fut longtemps l’avocat du Nahar et du Casino du Liban. Lié d’amitié à Ghassan Tuéni, il avait notamment joué un rôle-clé dans la jonction entre L’Orient et Le Jour.


Propriétaire d’une impressionnante collection de livres, Farès Zoghbi avait fini par en faire don à l’Université Saint-Joseph, à condition qu’elle demeure sur son site, à Kornet Chehwan, où il résidait, et qu’elle soit transformée en bibliothèque publique. Ce qui fut généreusement fait en 2002.
La santé de Farès avait décliné petit à petit, ces dernières années. Il est décédé hier matin des suites de complications pulmonaires. Seul survivant de sa fratrie, expatriée au Brésil, ce sont quelques proches, et surtout la grande famille de ses amis, qui lui feront ses adieux cet après-midi, en l’église Saints-Pierre-et-Paul, à Kornet Chehwan.

F.N.

Une bibliothèque vivante s’est éteinte

Il est parti sans bruit, comme il avait vécu ces dernières années, entre ses réflexions, ses livres, ses écrits secrets, et quelques amis.
Il est parti sans savoir qu’on continue de violer les livres et de brûler les bibliothèques !


Pharès, toi dont le prénom signifie chevalier dans cette langue que tu chéris, tu as été chevalier par la noblesse de tes dons et la discrétion de tes gestes, par l’attention la plus généreuse et par le don d’une vie entière dédiée aux autres !
Tu fais partie de ces hommes en voie de disparition, ces hommes cultivés, généreux, simples, attentionnés, humains, à l’écoute des autres, toujours disponibles.
Tu as consacré l’essentiel de tes forces pour aider et surtout pour lutter en vue d’un dialogue des cultures, avec un humanisme et une tolérance reconnus de tous.

Cher Pharès, par ces multiples actions, par ta bibliothèque, par tes écrits, par ta lutte pour un Liban réunifié, tu as éveillé les consciences, tu as tracé les routes, et, après toi, plus rien ne sera comme avant !
Ton départ est une perte considérable pour le monde juridique, pour l’Université Saint-Joseph, pour le monde de la culture et des bibliothèques, pour la francophonie, pour ton pays et ta contrée, Kornet Chehwan, et surtout pour nous, tes amis.
Pars en paix Pharès !

Nada CORBANI AKL Rita Zoghbi shared a link.

Note: This library was definitely closed, even before the Covid-19 pandemics, on account that the St. Joseph University wanted to cut down on “irrelevant” expenditure, and most probably to sell the Real Estate.

Farès Zoghbi : un ami nous a quittés Farès Zoghbi : C’était un humaniste doublé d’un philanthrope, un ami de la culture, un homme qui avait trouvé pour l’un de ses ouvrages ce titre…lorientlejour.com


Bi-Weekly Report (#20) on Lebanon and the Middle East (May 3, 2009)

Israel would like to play games with the US Administration in order to delay tough decisions for the establishment of a Palestinian State that everyone has been yearning for.

Israel is trying to focus the attention on Iran but there are no takers. 

The US Administration knows that there are No peace treaties with the Palestinians or Syria unless the regional powers are satisfied and consenting; mainly Iran, Egypt, Saudi Kingdom, and Turkey.

Iran is the easiest of the roadblocks among the four major regional powers because Iran would rather focus its investment on the social and economical issues in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.

The most difficult power to satisfy would be Egypt because it lost all credibilities for making any difference in the Arab World and in Africa after Gamal Abdel Nasser: Egypt is holding staunchly to its last Palestinian cards, since the huge weight in the Arab World that Gamal Abdel Nasser created for Egypt was dilapidated and used up since Sadate in 1970.

In fact, if a Palestinian State is voted on in the UN, then Egypt would have to turn to its main responsibility that is Sudan. Sudan is a real hot potato and an international focus: Egypt has neglected Sudan for so long that it has no real leverage over there.

Saudi Kingdom comprehends that exporting and proselytizing its Wahhabi sect will come to an abrupt stop if peace and stability reign in the States of the Sunni Muslims:  The Wahhabi salafist sect relies mainly on religious extremism in the Arab World which is fueled by considering Israel and Iran as nemesis to the Muslims.

Turkey is enjoying its new found role of mediator and would rather that this exercise last longer to convince France that Turkey is a critical factor for the European Union political effectiveness in the Middle East.

The triangle of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan is a very hot potato for Turkey to focus its attention on: Turkey would rather not alienate Russia at this junction before it secures a place in the EU.

Israel has been trying since the coming of Barack Obama to immerse the new US Administration in the recurring troubles between India and Pakistan and comploting terrorists attack in both States: the purpose was to divert the US from pressuring Israel to deliver on its promises for facilitating the establishment of a recognized Palestinian State.

With spring season, the Pakistani Army is making good progress inside the rebellious extremist Taliban type districts within Pakistan such as the Valley of Sawat and with the support of US military shipments.

I was having a nap around 4 p.m. this Wednesday when I overheard that the four military officers, Jamil Al Sayyed (former Security Director), Raymond Azar (military intelligence), Mustafa Hamdan (Presidential guard), and Ali Haj (director of the internal forces) will be released this afternoon after the special International Court of Justice for former late Rafic Hariri realized that it had no legal indictments on any one of the Generals.

There will be strong pressures for four judges to resign because they covered up information and detained the officers for 44 months without any kinds of indictments for political reasons; mainly the focus will be on the judges Said Mirza and Sakr Sakr.

Many heads will fall and the government is in hot water, especially Seniora PM, Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt, Samir Geagea, and particularly deputy Marwan Hamady for fabricating false testimonies by false witnesses.

After four years of investigation into the assassination of Rafic Hariri the International Court has nothing in its file for indicting anyone. 

Nasr Allah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah has suggested that a new venue be focused on; mainly the Israeli connection because they had the interest and the means for this major upheaval in Lebanon.  Nasr Allah proclaimed that no more indictments or imprisonment would be facilitated before thorough analysis of the proofs with the UN Court.

Jamil Al Sayyed had explained that their political indictment was a routine behavior of every government since the Independence of Lebanon.

The security responsibility of any government starts with the president of the Republic, then the Prime Minister, then the Head of the Parliament, then the ministers, then the deputies and lastly the security forces. 

All the massacres, treasury stealing, financial black boxes, and insecurity of the State are done by the politicians and based on their policies. 

Once the politicians find it convenient to reconcile their differences it is the officers of the security and military forces that are targeted as scapegoats.

Next Tuesday the highest court of judges of Lebanon will meet and come up with a credible explanation for shirking its independence as the third authority and hopefully major heads should pay the price for ruining the credibility of our justice system.

Undergraduate Students’ feedback for current semester method

Posted by: adonis49 on: November 2, 2008

Article #24, (written on June 11, 2005. Teaching at LAU Byblos university, Lebanon)

After many unsuccessful attempts to generate students’ feedback on my teaching methods and how this course might affect their perspective and behavior in approaching the remaining core courses, before graduation and in their career I decided to include two questions in the final exam that I expected would shed some insight.

The required question, which I told class two weeks ahead of the final exam that it will be part of the exam, directed the students to focus first on the diligent A and B students and then to target the C and D students in their teaching methods in case they might have to teach a course in Human Factors in engineering.

The third part was to restructure the course materials and which chapters should have to be developed further. 

Now, any logical person would expect the students to have prepared detailed answers to these questions since it is an open book and open notes exam, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any shred of evidence that any student did prepare a written answer. 

You would also expect students to be lenient in teaching this course but their reaction was even harsher.

Students feedbacks required that drop quizzes be delivered on a weekly basis after students hand in a chapter summary, that case studies be debated in class, a few lab workshops and many more assignments. 

A student suggested attaching a CD copy of the course material so that they would not have to carry books.

They suggested that summarizing chapters as assignments might force students to read, a suggestion that I did try in a previous semester but was discouraged because the endeavor ended up with students heavily copying from one another, and I having to carry home heavy loads and wasting more time flipping through useless pages.

I think that frequent and consistent drop quizzes are an excellent tool although it will cost me dear time for grading and from teaching time.

Actually, I didn’t expect even the most diligent students to read the whole course materials. 

I provided hints and suggestions on the best way to assimilate the material that would help them navigate through the content of the course. 

I encouraged them to browse through the whole course contents and focus on the graphs, tables and figures and try to comprehend the subject matters by analyzing and using them as facts in their analyses.

May be you would have a better assessment of the students’ harsh requirements, if given the opportunity to teaching, after I expose the load they shouldered throughout the semester.

Besides the mid-term and final exams, each student had to submit two assignments, two lengthy lab projects; three extensive take home exams that covered most of the chapters, three quizzes for 45 minutes each, two presentations to class of graphs, tables and figures, reading revised articles that I assigned them and a take home exam on a research paper concerning hand tool design. 

Not a single student was exposed to a research paper before, and it was a pretty tough awakening for the students planning for higher education. (Actually, the administration promised to sign in for peered-reviewed research articles from the Human Factors society, but never delivered)

I think that the students lacked an appreciation of the time allocated to managing a class that prohibits many well meaning teaching plans. 

In many instances, I had to read in class the assignments and take home exams questions and provide directions because I noticed that the students tended to dig these assignments up from their folders before a long lapse of time. 

The time allocated for students’ presentation takes up more than a third of the teaching hour and fielding questions takes the best of the second third 

There are no lab credit hours for this course and still students believe that they can set aside free hours for doing lab projects necessary for assimilating this course.

The alternatives restructuring of the course materials did not differ much from mine.

The optional question for bonus points asked the students to select 3 topics of interest to them, provide catchy titles and explain in two paragraphs for each topic how it might apply and improve their careers. 

Although I have assigned to the students articles that I wrote as an introduction to the course materials only one student offered complete sentence titles; the rest just named the topics. 

It appears that their preferred topics were: risk and errors, designing interfaces, work environmental factors that might affect performance, human-computer interface and hand tool design. 

A couple students interested in medical technology engineering wanted more emphasis on the biology aspects of the body structure. 

Only one student mentioned the cognitive preference for this single course.

Many students signed petitions to re-include the elective course of “risk assessment and occupational safety and health” for the fall semester but the administration refused to consider these petitions two years in a row.

Why?  I still did not receive any feedback either written or verbal. 

It appears that the meaning of asking students to deliver petitions for any demand is less a matter for taking their cases seriously but to erect roadblocks and present a procedural façade to secure grants as a professional institution.

Actually, students’ apathy toward the effectiveness of the student council is strikingly telling.

I had to harangue my class to grab and snatch their rights by persistent pressure on the administration for the demands in their petitions.

Have you learned to “indulge” in daydreaming “love encounters”? Learned to daydream stories of romantic relationship, hot inventive sexual practices, bold and fun conversation…?

Try my healthy method that will facilitate your bowel movement (including drinking plenty of water), exercise you heart without undue exertion, stabilizing your physical and mental wellbeing by marchaling an amalgam of various hormones, adrenaline, and enzymes, which do Not come easy in routine lifestyle, and familiarize yourself and by yourself with smart and creative questions and responses pertaining to sexual encounters…?

You will learn that it is easy and very pleasurable to invent creative short stories that involve just a single another partner, thinking of the right environment, the agreeable scenic locations… to meet and discuss lovely conversation with this glamorous and funny partner who initiated this story to get to know you very “intimately”?

I bet you, if you are obese you’ll look “appetizing” in no time, if your nerves are entangled, you’ll relax beautifully, if you lack self confidence you’ll feel the rush of this courage adrenaline flooding your system… And your subconscious is practicing how to encounter any person you fancy to meet

What do you care? Nobody watching or hearing. You own your story, you edit it any which way you like to fit your idiosyncrasies…

You can have a line of persons waiting to be picked up for “analysis and active experiment”. I suggest on focusing on only two “creatures” every week.

Once the roster is depleted, then select the two that have the potential to materialize for active experiment on how far you evolved and changed.

I bet you your behavior will change to the better: You are no longer this staunch introvert and are ready to open communication with people you run into, to know more about them and accept to be humble and kind and engaging.

You’ ll become a genuine funny person, quick in the mind to react to opinions and positions. A Stand up comic potential.

Listen, I don’t know how young you are, if all I said meant to you to whipping out your penis and working on it…this Not the technique that I am teaching. There is no way you can create a lovely and exciting story when you focus on your erection.

Actually, you barely will experience an erection if you think on an “educated” and creative story that is satisfying to your well being.

The bottom line of this method is to select persons you “know”, occasionally have contact with and are Not far away from your location. Grounding yourself in a potential reality is the name of the game.

How many wives, grown up girls and boys have No bank accounts or any saved cash to spend on themselves?

I have in mind all those wives who brought up half a dozen children and married most of them and toiled all her life, and still have No bank accounts, no credit cards or No saved cash to spend on themselves?

I have in mind all those educated wives and girls who taught the younger ones in their homeworks and took care of the household and were Not paid hours spent on the family.

And are denied to teach online other children, on account that this is a “modern technique” that a single minutes can resolve whatever complication this require.

I have in mind all those grown up girls who were pressured to take care of their younger brothers and sisters, and maybe have gone to universities and acquired talents… and still have No bank accounts or managed to saved cash to spend on themselves? To discover their passions and practice their talents…

I have in mind all those kids who never received any weekly stipends to learn to have any taste in good quality products or food dishes and are still relying on their parents to fit them in clothes, shoes… without them permitted to have an input in what they want and desire

All those hard working people who were taken for granted, for all kinds of stupid idiosyncratic excuses and sick customs, and were denied independent means to stand up tall in society.

This is one of the worst human rights abuses that billion of people are refused to be paid and moved forward in their lives.

A course material of 1000 pages?  Why so much material for a single course in the first place?

Posted on November 2, 2008

Assimilating a new discipline or new methods in a single course is too strong a term. 

You indeed can scarcely describe the process of comprehending a topic and assimilating it, even within a specialized discipline, without overshooting the mark.

Now that the title might have captured your attention, let me describe my teaching methods that may permit students to cover an overview of such a vast discipline as Human Factors in one semester course.

I encourage my students to learn and read as “trained engineers ” should, smartly.

They are to first locate the graphs, tables and figures in a chapter (the dependent, independent and controlled variables) , try to understand the topic by concentrating their attention on these tools of learning, and then read the preceding and following sections if they fail to comprehend the graphs, tables and figure on their own merit.

You should all know that if a picture is worth a thousand words then a graph, table or a figure might be worth ten thousands words.

I assign a graph, table or a figure to students to hand copy it, write a short presentation, and then copy it on a transparency sheet to present to class.

After the presentation of a unique graph the student will field a few questions from class and then I take over and explain and expand on the content of the transparency.  

This method of training students to learn through these learning tools and giving them an opportunity to appreciate them, as engineers should, I am able to cover most of the course material throughout the semester.

Another method is by handing out two take home exams in addition to the regular exams.  Take home exams are handed out three weeks in advance of the due dates and cover questions from all chapters that need to be read thoroughly and supplemented from other sources for substantiation. 

Students are encouraged to take very seriously these take home assignments not only because they weight heavily in points but also because a few of the exam questions will be selected from the take home assignment. 

Assignments and lab projects are other methods for revisiting the course materials and other sources.

The quizzes and regular exams are open books, open notes and whatever printouts from the internet students are willing to bring to class. 

I even encouraged students to use an efficient cheat sheets technique that might convey the message effectively based on the fact that most of the chapters are interconnected. 

The main subjects such as designing interfaces, displays and controls, occupational safety and health, environmental and organizational factors in the workplace, designing workstations, capabilities and limitations of human users, sensing and perception capacities, and physical and cognitive methods have links to many other chapters in addition to the main one. 

Thus, if a student selects a subject as the central item he would be able to link different sections of other chapters to it by writing down the page numbers of the source section.  

These cheat sheets could be excellent learning methods to answer open book exams without the need to fumble through hundreds of pages for each question.

A different technique to assimilating course materials is through questions. 

The catch is that asking questions on assignments, lab projects or take home exams have to be submitted in writing. 

The written question has to follow a certain process:

First, stating in complete sentences the subject matter;

Second explaining how the question was understood and

the last step is expressing the problems with links to the chapters they had to read in order to comprehend the subject.

I am still waiting for a single written question and it might be for the best because it eliminates a host of redundant questions that are asked out of laziness, failing to carefully read the whole question sheet or shirking from diligently doing their best to browse through the course materials.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2021
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