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RE: FW: dynamic lateral force procedure

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When I started to teach Elementary Structures at the local community
college, I feared teaching students the section of truss design. It had
been so many years since I've used the method of joints, sections or
graphical method that I did not think I could do it. 

It's like riding a bike - once you get on the information comes back
quickly, but even more important, a new understanding usually comes
along with it. 

This is the hardest thing to teach students. I see the relationship in
practice that I did not understand when taking the course in school. I
also can visual different approaches to solutions by rational methods -
something that I had a great deal of difficulty doing in school. There
is now a gap between students who believe that I must have been doing
truss design every day of my 20 years in practice, when the truth is
that I relied upon computer programs and truss companies 99% of the
time. 

I think the problem is that the students can not see the practical
application of the design; they are bogged down in trying to figure out
what tool to use to solve which problem and don't understand what is
happening at the pins.

I know look forward to review many of my more advanced studies when I
was a student. I am excited, because in stead of fearing what I was able
to get through in school, I honestly believe that the issues are simply
much clearer in intent and as they relate to the real world. 

I think the best way to learn is to be able to teach it to someone else.
Maybe this is why I encourage my students to work together. Yes, they
take advantage, but then again, I'm not blind and I know who has the
understanding and who is using someone else to obtain a passing grade.

One last thought. When you are able to recognize the ability you gain in
practice, it makes you feel much more confident in find others to help
and evaluating what they do know and where they are weak.  

The same philosophy is true when the computer program (be it formal
programming, spreadsheets or templates) are written by you. Working on
the Lateral Design Spreadsheet and having late night debates with really
good engineers like Dave Merrick, Mike Cochran, Doug Thompson and
others, I felt that once I developed the logic, I really understood the
intent. Isn't this what it all boils down to?

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
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-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com] 
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 4:50 PM
To: ‡
Subject: Re: FW: dynamic lateral force procedure

>The attitude that more complex dynamic analyses utilizing faster and
better
>computers is the inescapable wave of the future for our profession is
IMO
>misguided and shortsighted.
But very, very common. As a result you have a generation of engineers 
without the skills in applied mechanics to figure out what a load path 
is, who think that a multi-colored stress plot is the last step in
stress 
calculation. And apparently Code committees who don't realize that
normal 
mode theory has limitations in application that will never be overcome 
with faster computers. Believe me there are a lot of them. Just like the

people who assume that the ability to run CAD software makes them 
designers.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw


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