2020 Fundamentals of Fluid Mechanics B Students Comments  
Comment by Prof. Parent
Due to the corona virus, the university has switched off the students evaluations of courses this semester. I'd like to get your feedback nonetheless because I'll use it to improve AME536B next year. Simply log in as user AME536B and tell me in this thread the good points of the course as well as what you feel could be improved. Thank you.
Comment by Student AME536B
Providing solutions from the homework helps immensely with the learning process. Providing guidance as it has been done is extremely helpful but finishing a class not knowing what you don't know because you have no idea where you are making mistakes is ridiculous from my point of view. Indeed, in industry as well as research some problems don't have a solution and many times you don't know if your solution is right. However, this is a fundamental class that should allow students to learn from their mistakes and it is a disappointment to finish a class not knowing why you are wrong. 'Just saying think about' is not enough, that is something that I have never heard it in industry and/or academia before. Generally in industry/academia people will discuss with you why your approach might be wrong but in a class is very hard to be able to discuss your thought process with the professor.This approach might be more efficient in a pure research and/or industry setting where you can always talk to your peer about your process but in a class setting with several students is very hard.
Comment by Prof. Parent
First, I disagree with your statement that “you don't know because you have no idea where you are making mistakes”. You did get this feedback for every assignment problem, and you know if you got it right or not. If I wrote down some complaints in red on your assignment solutions, this means you did not succeed correctly and need to work more on it. I gave various hints as well on how to proceed when I felt you made significant effort. If a check mark is written, this means the solution is correct and you don't need to work more on it.
Second, I understand you want the solutions to the assignments. But in my view, it is more important to develop your mental skills needed to find solutions on your own rather than to tell you the solutions. I can't think of a better way to develop these mental skills in you than by putting strong incentives in place so that you succeed the assignment problems on your own. If the assignment solution is given shortly after the due date, you'll wait for the answer to be given to you rather than sweat on it. If the solution is not given, you need to ask more questions and get more feedback from me until you get it right. If you work hard on it, and ask more questions, you'll eventually succeed I am sure. Should your fluid skills be poor, you may need to work 20 hours per week on the course. Should your skills be good, only 5 hours may be enough.
Yes, I realize it's more work for you (and for me as well) this way, but will result in better training. You'll be better prepared and do far better when solving new problems in the future. Don't hesitate to ask many questions on my website for this purpose, even after the assignment has been submitted. I was a bit disappointed this term by how few questions I got. I'd expect much more questions especially coming from students who did not succeed their assignment problems. But this didn't happen frequently.
Comment by AME536A Student
First of all, thank you for a great semester. I really appreciated your thoroughness with lectures, however, there were times where you could have skipped through some of the basic algebra in order to spend more time on the concepts. Overall, my notes for this class are great and could probably be used to write a book. Also, I agree that having the solutions to the homework can be very useful for the student. It gives the student a chance to see different (and usually better) approaches to solve the problem. If you still want to incentivize students to solve these on their own first, you could give solutions to the homework after the midterms (so that they still have to think for themselves leading up to the midterm). I can only really speak from experience but given the solution to homework can help boost confidence from either knowing your solution was correct or knowing what the best way to solve the problem is. Most of the class was done very well, and you did a good job communicating difficult ideas in an easy to understand way but there were things you could have done better. I would have liked to see more about the Cauchy stress tensor, vorticity dynamics, and vortex streets. Also, there were times where you could have provided more physical intuition without purely relying on the mathematics.
Comment by Prof. Parent
I will look into enhancing the notes related to the stress tensor, and definitely, vorticity dynamics. I agree this needs more depth. About providing more physical intuition, I am not sure what you mean. You need to be specific on which parts exactly you struggled with. What part of the course was particularly hard with respect to understanding the physics? You need to be explicit.
Concerning giving the solutions to the assignments, I disagree this is good for you. Work harder on them and you will eventually succeed and get the same solution that I would hand out to you. Most of the problems I gave you this semester are relatively easy engineering problems that are well within your reach. You need to find a way to solve these problems on your own and get rid of the habit of quitting and waiting for the solutions when you don't succeed after a couple of hours of work. There were 1 or 2 problems in the first assignments that were especially hard I agree — I may work them out in class in the future. But for most of them, no.
Comment by AME536A Student
I also really appreciated the lectures. It seemed to me like you put a great deal of effort into preparing them. Thank you! In my opinion, you should try to explain better how to find the sign of the wall shear stress. If you do not want to hand out solutions to the homework problems, maybe you could let the students resubmit their assignments multiple times. Then the students can be sure they found the correct solution and you can provide better feedback for the problems they did not solve correctly.
Comment by Prof. Parent
Yes, good points. Will look into this.
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