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  1. #1
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    First of itís kind in the Nation


  2. #2
    pvd
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    This is not a good thing. It's a very bad thing for students.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    This is not a good thing. It's a very bad thing for students.
    Seems pretty sweet if they know what's valuable that the course offers. Students learn metals knowledge/calculations, basic machining/welding skills, how to work with fussy/obnoxious individuals (like, business and customer relations type stuff), and how to interact with/ignore entrenched self-appointed cognoscenti (public relations stuff). If they go in to the program without planning to be framebuilders (but possibly being socially-competent metalworkers) it seems like an awesome experience and such a person should have no trouble finding work in the future.
    Last edited by scottzg; 4 Days Ago at 12:33 PM.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  4. #4
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    Anything hands on mechanical teaches problem solving and critical thinking skills.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  5. #5
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    If bicycles are the hook to get people to learn math and fabrication skills, that's fine.

    I'd be very wary of a program that advertises itself as a route to being a professional framebuilder or working in the bike industry, though. It would be a disservice to the students to pretend that either of those routes are a realistic career goal for anyone that isn't extremely motivated and lucky.

    -Walt

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    If bicycles are the hook to get people to learn math and fabrication skills, that's fine.

    I'd be very wary of a program that advertises itself as a route to being a professional framebuilder or working in the bike industry, though. It would be a disservice to the students to pretend that either of those routes are a realistic career goal for anyone that isn't extremely motivated and lucky.

    -Walt
    Perhaps they could incorporate such a warning into the curriculum - "this is to whet your appetite for the making of things". I think, given the chance, people would build a frame or two, look at the financial sheets and time sheets involved, and be like "SCREW THIS" and get a different job, all voluntarily by drawing their own conclusions!

    That's why I don't think the class is a bad idea. I specifically went to a course to build a bamboo bike to start out, and over the long term I really came away with cautionary tales of what not to do. I got a nugget of confidence and some strong zones of "I want to avoid ____", and it was helpful over time. I don't regret going.

    Respect to you Walt for acknowledging the amount of privilege required to build bicycles professionally. It does not make us bad or impossible-to-exist people; it makes us unlikely people, existing on the fringes, willing to put in ridiculously large efforts for specific goals.

    IMO, PVD, no need to FUD.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  7. #7
    pvd
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    It's like teaching kindergarten and giving out a college diploma. A complete disservice to the students. Ignorant and lame.

    Screw it, at least they'll end up in debt and jobless after wasting a few years.

  8. #8
    pvd
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  9. #9
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    Jumping to conclusions is always a good look.

    In case anyone cares, here is the course list:

    ARTS1223Introduction to the Digital Arts and Creative Multimedia 3 cr
    ENGL1215College Writing I 3 cr
    MATH1220College Algebra 3 cr
    MATH1230Introduction to Statistics 3 cr
    PHYS1215College Physics I 4 cr
    16 crs
    TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
    BIKE1010Oxy-Fuel Welding, GMAW, Plasma and Flame Cutting, and Brazing for Bikes 3 cr
    BIKE1020Machining for Bikes 3 cr
    BIKE1030CAD CAM 3 cr
    BIKE1040History and Theory of Bike Design 3 cr
    BIKE1050AL-FE-SS-TI Welding for Bikes 3 cr
    BIKE1060CNC for Bikes 3 cr
    BIKE1070Solidworks 3 cr
    BIKE20103D Prototyping 3 cr
    BIKE2020Carbon Fiber & Composites 5 cr
    BIKE2040Mechanics-Materials-Springs 3 cr
    BIKE2050Chains-Gears-Belts-Linkages-Drivetrains 3 cr
    BIKE2060Bicycle Electronics & Test Fixture Automation 3 cr
    BIKE2070Physics for Bikes 1 cr
    BIKE2080Safety and PPE 1 cr
    BIKE2090Capstone 4 cr

  10. #10
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    Orville and Wilbur can tell you where that can lead.

    With that skill set the possibilities are endless.

    Great idea for a course.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  11. #11
    pvd
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    That's a pretty sad curriculum. Essentially, the student will be building a bike over two years.

    Then what? They are useless to most industries. In fact, they're a hazard. Any job that they'd be looking for is done by Mexicans for minimum wage. What was accomplished?

    A real trade school training in a real trade could make sense....if we needed trades people in the US. But we don't.

    I think that this tells the whole story:

    "The idea to start the program came from another program that already exists at the college - the guitar repair and building program."

  12. #12
    pvd
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    Also, if I can go to NAHBS or talk to a designer at a bicycle company and they have no idea about bicycle geometry, fit, handling, or much else, how is it going to be taught at a college level? All I can imagine is some 22 year old hipster will end up teaching it like they did at CCA. It was a joke but at least that was just an "art" school.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    Also, if I can go to NAHBS or talk to a designer at a bicycle company and they have no idea about bicycle geometry, fit, handling, or much else, how is it going to be taught at a college level? All I can imagine is some 22 year old hipster will end up teaching it like they did at CCA. It was a joke but at least that was just an "art" school.
    Dude there are 12 posts on this including the OP and you're five of them. Calm down.

    The program sounds like fun, but if someone does it and expects a great job or to start their own successful business after they may be disappointed.

    I had the opportunity (and I took it, multiple times) to learn most of those skills in highschool. The kids that had a penchant for it did some pretty incredible things. Many of us were ROP certified, and a number also got certified in various forms of welding.

    But the value I place on those skills is something that can be learned in highschool. Going to an extensive program such as this would not be worthwhile if it is so purpose-built around bicycles.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    Also, if I can go to NAHBS or talk to a designer at a bicycle company and they have no idea about bicycle geometry, fit, handling, or much else, how is it going to be taught at a college level?
    They'll bring in an advanced industry track:

    BIKE3001: Mathematical Interpolation for Geometry Charts
    BIKE3002: Technical Mandarin
    BIKE3003: The Art of the Bro-deal (limited to male attendees)
    BIKE3004: Gear Ratios for Pros
    BIKE3005: Intro to Physiology (cancelled)
    BIKE3006: Bankruptcy Law / Mental Health Awareness (split semester)

  15. #15
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    There is actually a much broader issue here in ďhigherĒ education. So many degrees that offer little or nothing for the accumulated debt. There needs to be more truth-in-education: sit an 18/19 year old down and say look, this is what these options will cost, hereís the expected placement rate and salary. Show them the math doesnít work for many of the degrees currently on the menu. I know people will say ďtheyíre adults, and should figure it out,Ē but facts show otherwise when you look at the amount of student debt in our country. (Also, the brain isnít done forming until about age 25, so theyíre more like proto-adults.) Since so many institutions are making money on this deal, itís not likely there will be change anytime soon, so the best we can do is talk to the young adults in our lives and try to help them realize the facts.

    How do we not need more skilled trades people in our country? I worked in heavy industry for years and we could never find enough electricians, welders, etc. I still work with lots of contractors and itís the same story - skill shortage. The problem is itís no longer glamorous to be a plumber, but reality is at 7pm on a Sunday when your basement floor drain is plugged and itís raining 2 inches an hour, a plumber is a superhero.

  16. #16
    pvd
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    I think both Dr. Welby and Equinox get it.

    I've got a reason for my thinking. I've worked at a major US University for almost 15 years, I've spent nearly all of my career as a machinist, mechanic, and engineer, and I'm also an expert on bicycle design. Looking at a program that is proposed here is just a sad joke. Even worse that it's in Minnesota.

    I loved manufacturing when I started at the end of the eighties. I left that world early in the zeros. Making a living doing that was just waiting to hear about the next round of layoffs or plant closings. I found secure work in academia. Things have gotten far worse since. You'd have to be completely stupid to try to get a job in trades in the US other than contract remodeling, domestic electrical, or domestic plumbing. You'll do far better and work easy as the worst engineer than the best machinist.

  17. #17
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    It really should be

    BIKE1010 Oxy-Fuel Welding, GMAW, Plasma and Flame Cutting, and Brazing for Bikes 3 cr
    BIKE1015 Commercial HVAC and how to buy a Corvette with cash before you're 30

    (My commercial HVAC guy could double his rate a no one would blink)

  18. #18
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    I would argue that engineering is a trade (and getting a degree in engineering is essentially going to trade school - though the end products have a wider spread of proficiency than traditional trades).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox_Bikes View Post
    I would argue that engineering is a trade (and getting a degree in engineering is essentially going to trade school - though the end products have a wider spread of proficiency than traditional trades).
    If you believe that, you have a skewed definition of "engineering."

    Engineers are people who invent new technology.

    People who implement existing technology are called "technicians."

    The schooling for the former is quite rigorous and theoretical, the latter, nowhere near as much.

  20. #20
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    Iím an engineer. I work as an engineer. Most engineers donít invent anything new. Many technicians do.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equinox_Bikes View Post
    Iím an engineer. I work as an engineer. Most engineers donít invent anything new. Many technicians do.



    Technicians being on the pointy end of things often do it as a matter of necessity as a "field improvement".
    It ain't supposed to be easy.

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  22. #22
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    I understand PVD's position and it is good that he explained himself this time....

    In New Zealand I now work in the Construction Sector. Have done since turning 25yrs old. I have seen the trades go through cycles of change.
    We had periods of boom, then bust. Qualified people would leave the district to find employment during a bust period or go overseas. We had these 'brain drains' regularly. Then we had a growing market and boom - Earthquakes. We did not have the workforce to re-build our broken country, so, we opened the country up for workers to come here. Ireland's glowing economy collapsed and we had Irishmen flooding in. Now the work is completing and the Irish are moving on. The world is changing and qualified people are still needed. The workforce is becoming more mobile, and they are reading the market better. Whether this course is useful or not will take time to emerge, but as I found out, it is a really good hobby, but don't give up your day job.

    Eric
    If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?

  23. #23
    NWS
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    There are two ways to look at this:

    1) This is an educational offering that will prepare students for a lucrative career in the bicycle-making industry.

    That smells, as PVD was too polite to say, like horseshit.

    2) This is a collection of classes that will teach students a variety of skills that will server them well in a variety of industries. To put all of those skills into context, and to help the lessons sink in, each students will apply what they learn to the design and construction of their very own bicycle.

    That's a damn fine way to teach.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS View Post

    2) This is a collection of classes that will teach students a variety of skills that will server them well in a variety of industries. To put all of those skills into context, and to help the lessons sink in, each students will apply what they learn to the design and construction of their very own bicycle.

    That's a damn fine way to teach.
    I agree, but the mix of classes is somewhat disappointing. There's a bunch of classes in that curriculum that are just bicycle masturbation that anyone whose gonna make it in a bike-related field is going to learn because passion. On the other hand, i know a lot of engineers/ creators/ fabricators... and their ability to look at a problem and disregard the wisdom of others is a blessing and a curse. They struggle to understand the client's expectation/vision or recognize when to build off the shoulders of giants.

    To me this is a really interesting part of building custom frames- you need to completely understand the craft.... and then be able to apply that craft to someone who isn't you, who has different expectations and experiences that are just as (more?) valid as your own. From what i've seen the successful framebuilders follow one of two models. They narrowly define their scope and refine it so they're unquestionably the expert within that realm, or they learn the spectrum of what's possible and establish that they understand the fringe cases and can build something fantastic for each weirdo. Really both is happening, but that's building a business...

    Half of that is marketing, half of it is entrepreneurship, half is tactical empathy. It's way more useful than learning electric drivetrain or whatever. I'm disappointed the program doesn't require some communications or business classes over the bike design minutiae classes.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  25. #25
    pvd
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS View Post
    2) This is a collection of classes that will teach students a variety of skills that will server them well in a variety of industries. To put all of those skills into context, and to help the lessons sink in, each students will apply what they learn to the design and construction of their very own bicycle.

    That's a damn fine way to teach.
    You've put far too much faith in the educational industrial complex. You should go visit a school and see what they "teach". You might rethink much of this.

  26. #26
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    From the article that OP posted:

    "The program has been approved by the college. Beginning in January, students could enroll in general education classes such as algebra and physics in the 60-credit program which leads to a two-year associate of applied science degree."

    What's wrong with that? It gives students a college education, it's only two years, and the skills probably transfer to more industries than just bikes.
    The cake is a lie.

  27. #27
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    Sure, this course is incomplete and takes a long time to teach the basics, but how is that different from any other college degree? Anyone who enters a career they studied in college has barely begun their education by the time they graduate. No college degree in the world guarantees a career, that's up to the student. But it sure is a good start, and I think that's all this program is.

    I mean, it results in a 2-year Associate of Applied Science degree. Anyone who thinks that guarantees them success in the world is in for a wake-up call anyway.
    Myth Cycles handbuilt bike frames
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  28. #28
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    Just as a reminder a college degree from a typical American liberal arts college/university is not designed as training for a specific job (although sometimes it does). It is to acquaint the student with a broad range of subjects that makes them a more informed citizen that is better able to do whatever job they finally choose. This is why the requirements for graduation include courses in about every department. The European educational model is different.

    As the cost of college education has increased bringing with it larger student loans, it has sharpened the focus on the value of certain college degrees. It can be a hard sell to convince someone to take anthropology, art history or English literature as a way to make real money in the future. There is increasing competition among colleges for a reducing number of customers/students. They try to find a new area of study that will bring in more paying students. My best friend from the high school I attended in India was the academic dean of a college that has training in disaster rescue and relief. That popular major is a huge help to their bottom line. This effort needs to be seen in the context of all the other majors that have questionable job finding value. While in college, a student with any major has the opportunity to find a future mate (where most of the decent candidates are located) and have time to mature out of their idiot adolescence stage. Isnít that the real purpose of college?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by doug fattic View Post
    Just as a reminder a college degree from a typical American liberal arts college/university is not designed as training for a specific job (although sometimes it does). It is to acquaint the student with a broad range of subjects that makes them a more informed citizen that is better able to do whatever job they finally choose.

    College to help decide what you should actually go to college for.

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    This is 12 miles away from me. I actually considered submitting a resume as my experience lines up with the bending and fabrication side of the program. I decided against it just based on it being an adjunct position at a tech school.

    They're basing this one on the success of their luthier program. This is a pretty highly regarded program locally, but I know a few graduates who do nothing related to guitar building since graduation. When I first saw the job postings, I too wondered where the demand is for this type of program.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    There's a bunch of classes in that curriculum that are just bicycle masturbation
    I totally agree. The courses would be much better as a "small-scale metal fabrication" degree, with more focus on business and generic shop skills, especially prototyping and fixturing. Then at the end you could build bikes, truck bumpers, or whatever, and submit a business plan.

    But I get it from the school's perspective - specific programs like this help attract students.

  32. #32
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    I taught bicycle frame building classes in a university setting for several years in the late 70's. It was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. Some students were enthusiastic cyclists but some took it just to fulfill their general ed requirements. It made a bigger difference in their lives than I expected. For starters the none-cyclists got into riding because finally they had something decent that fit them properly. After they started riding they started to feel better and paid more attention to what they ate etc. This got them going in a direction of regular exercise and a more healthy life style that continued to benefit them long after they finished college.

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