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Тексты и задания на весенний семестр 2011 г.

21.03.2011

A Brief History of Engineering

In the old days, 1325 AD to be more precise, an engineer was defined as "a constructor of military engines". Back then engineering was divided into two categories: Military Engineering and Civil Engineering. The former involved the construction of fortifications and military engines, the latter concerned non-military projects, for example bridge building. This definition is now obsolete, as engineering has broadened to include a myriad of disciplines.

The exact origin of the word 'engineering' comes from the era when humans applied themselves to skilful inventions. Man evolving further in the world invented devices such as the pulley, the wheel and levers. The word 'engineer' has its root in the word engine, which comes from the Latin word ingenium, which means "innate quality particularly of mental power". And thus the word engineer emerged as a person who creates nifty and practical inventions.

Today an engineer is described as someone who has acquired and is applying their scientific and technical knowledge to designing, analysing and building useful, helpful and functional works. This would involve structures, machines and apparatus, manufacturing processes as well as forecasting their behaviour in particular environmental conditions. This is all accomplished with functionality, operational economics and safety to life and property forefront in mind.

Engineering is a broad discipline with many subdisciplines dedicated to various fields of study with regardsto particular types of technologies or products.

Engineers may begin their career being trained in a specific discipline, but because of the engineering jobs they take-on, they often become multi-disciplined having worked in a variety of different fields.

The field of engineering has traditionally been divided into the following engineering job categories:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Electrical Engineering and,
- Mechanical Engineering.

However, since the human race has been swiftly advancing with regards to technology, new branches of engineering are being developed. Engineering jobs can now also be found in the following fields:
* Computer Engineering,
* Software Engineering,
* Nanotechnology,
* Molecular Engineering,
* Mechatronics and many more!

Although all these fields may be defined differently, there is generally a great overlap, particularly in the fields of physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Engineering jobs usually entail applying physics and mathematics to problems in order to discover viable solutions or to make improvements. Where a number of different solutions are available, engineers evaluate these options and the required outcome in order to identify the best route to follow.

The earliest recorded civil engineer was an Egyptian known as Imhotep. It is believed that Imhotep designed and built the great pyramid of Djoser, also known as the Step Pyramid. Imhotep was one of Pharaoh Djoser's officials and it is possible that he was the first person to make use of columns in architecture. The Step Pyramid was built in Egypt in about the time period 2630 - 2611 BC and can be found at Saqqara.

Imhotep would probably be absolutely fascinated with the leaps and bounds engineering has taken in the last 4000 years - although he might have a few secrets to share himself!


(Источник: http://www.articlesbase.com/careers-articles/a-brief-history-of-engineering-355572.html)

 

 

21.02.2011

Russian education system

Higher education structure

Over the last decade, the system of higher education in Russia has undergone considerable change in the following areas:

•    Goals – with an orientation towards the needs of the market, society, and individuals;
•    Structure – decentralization (in contrast to Soviet centralized planning);
•    Autonomy of higher educational institutions – introduction of private higher education; four- and two-year programs in parallel with the traditional five-year program; elimination of a bias towards engineering specialties;
•    Financing – diversification of financial sources instead of a reliance solely on state financing;
•    Content – increasing the humanitarian components in the curriculum, and diversifying programs and courses.   

     The Russian higher education system remains relatively centralized: the Federal Government provides no less than 50% of all higher education institutional expenditures and keeps all state-owned institutions' funds under strict control through a special system of treasury accounts, it provides accreditation, attestation and licensing of all institutions, private or public, it establishes considerably detailed unified standards of higher education (HE) programs defining the curricular and content for all disciplines and it keeps monopoly to issue diplomas confirming higher education degree.

Check your comprehension
~ What does change in content of the system of higher education in Russia mean?
~ Can you prove that the Russian higher education system remains relatively centralized?
~ Which document confirms higher education degree?

HE institution system section data and types of institutions

At present, the current Russian HE community consists of over 1000 HEIs, 655 of which are state institutions. In 1990 there were only about 700 institutions. During the last 10 years, both state and non-state HEIs have crated more than 2000 branches. Of these, 64% are registered as state institutions, and 36 % as non-state HEIs. This means that many of the private institutions are fairly small and mainly have local importance in their respective region. Private institutions were mainly opened for the professions that were demanded by the labour market: lawyers, economists and accountants.

A large number of the faculty members at private universities are full-time employees at public universities. They are employed as part-time staff in private institutions to teach general courses that every university is expected to offer. The public sector has also contributed by physical infrastructure, or financial support to the private institutions, many of which are closely linked to governmental structures.
Russia has four types of institutions:

•    Universities: responsible for education and research in a variety of disciplines; There are “classical” and “technical” universities with special attention paid respectively to social sciences and humanities or natural fundamental and applied (engineering) sciences. Unofficial ratings also distinguish old “classical” universities and “new” universities, former pedagogical or technical institutions which have acquired their university status quite recently.

•    Academies: responsible for education and research. They differ from universities only in that they restrict themselves to a single discipline;

    Institutes: multi-discipline oriented. They can be independent structural units, or part of a university or academy and usually specialize in one field. However pedagogical institutes are responsible for all spectrum of disciplines taught at schools

•    Private institutions: present in increasing numbers. They offer degrees in non-engineering fields such as business, culture, sociology and religion.

Check your comprehension
 ~ What is the role of public sector in developing private institutions of HE?  
~ What types of HEI are there in Russia?
~ Which HEI are unofficially known as “new” universities?

Degree structure

There is a new degree structure, which follows a three-tier pattern, three levels, and uses U.S./British nomenclature.

Currently there are only two types of diploma (degrees) which are officially recognized as ones of completed higher education – these are diploma of specialist and diploma of a Master level.

The Bachelor diploma and the certificate of “incomplete higher education” are not regarded as high education degrees. In some cases a bachelor degree suffices to start a career. Anyway bachelors (or undergraduates) are not allowed to take positions were higher education is necessary by labor law or by custom, they can’t get the research degree of Candidate of Sciences, male graduates are drafted as soldiers and must serve for two years while specialists and  masters have half a year shorter conscription period.

It should be noted that Russia has signed Bologna Declaration and by the year 2010 transition to a two- tier degree structure should be completed, the objective is specified as one of the ultimate goals of the country’s educational reforms.

Level I Programs at this level are organized into two stages:
•    Stage 1 consists of two years of course work, upon completion of which students are awarded a “certificate of incomplete higher education.”
•    Stage 2 is devoted entirely to one to two years of intensive professional training. Upon completion, students are awarded a diploma of incomplete higher education.
Level II Bachelor: Awarded upon completion of four-year programs in the humanities, economics and natural sciences, as well as some practical professional training. It represents the completion of “basic academic education.”

Level III There are two options after the second level – master and specialist. Both degrees allow access to doctoral study.

Master: This is an academic degree designed for students who wish to pursue a career in academia and research. It takes 2 years after obtaining the bachelor degree. The field of study must be the same as for the bachelor.

Specialist: This is a professional training program designed for students who choose to pursue the practical applications of their specialization.
Bachelor, master and specialist diplomas are awarded by the State Attestation Commission.
     
Check your comprehension

~ What is the difference between master and specialist degree? What do they have in common?

 

 

 

14.02.2011

Research impact

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.

Research carried out by Oxford’s staff, students and alumni has, over the centuries, made an enormous impact on the world of ideas, on our fundamental understanding of the physical world and of biology, on health prevention and treatment, on public policy, international affairs, the arts, business and much, much more.

Impact needs to be judged in ways relevant to each research area, program or project. So the impact of, say, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ground-breaking work on the history of christianity, is very different to that of Professor Lionel Tarassenko’s research on neural networks and intelligent algorithms, and commercial spin-offs such as Oxford Biosignals Ltd. In some cases it takes years, decades even, before the true value of some research becomes apparent or is formally recognised. There are no simple predictors of potential benefit or of outcomes, and no single ‘measure’ of impact.

Oxford leads and actively supports a wide range of regional, national and international initiatives designed to showcase the value of research and its intellectual, social, cultural, industrial and economic impacts, including through the Learned Academies, RCUK, medical charities such as the Wellcome Trust, open access repositories, literary and artistic exhibitions, trade fairs, regional economic development forums, the Oxford Innovation Society, Oxford at Westminster, international conferences, and the like.

(Источник: www.ox.ac.uk)



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