Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Lack of Textbooks in Civil Engineering

One of the challenges to an engineering professor here in the Philippines is choosing the main textbook of his courses. Before I recommend a textbook as the main reference, I first go around bookstores specifically National Bookstore or Goodwill bookstore to check what textbooks are available. Recently, I noticed the lack of textbooks in civil engineering in commercial bookstores. What you will see are Board exam reviewers and the old edition of textbooks like Strength of Materials by Singer and Pytel. Would you believe that even if we want to replace the textbook by Singer and Pytel in Strength of Materials with a new one, we can’t – because we can’t find a replacement. In our Engineering Mechanics course, we have to write our own textbook in Statics.

I know there are new and better textbooks like those written by R.C. Hibbeler. I usually use Mechanics of Materials and Structural Analysis by R.C. Hibbeler as my main textbooks in my two courses in structural analysis. And usually I recommend the latest edition. However, I observed that these books have become scarce. Even if I inform the local distributor to make the textbooks available, the situation remains the same – NO TEXTBOOKS. Why should I recommend a textbook which is NOT available for the students to purchase?

I would like to call the attention of book publishers and distributors in the Philippines to make their textbooks in Engineering Mechanics (Statics & Dynamics), Mechanics of Materials, Structural Analysis and Structural Design (Reinforced Concrete and Steel) available in commercial and university bookstores so that the faculty can choose their main textbooks in their courses. I raised this problem also to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) - Technical Panel in CE during their evaluation visit at our university. Well the CHEd representative doesn’t have an answer to this ..... Ironically CHEd requires a minimum number of books and references per subject - what are they going to do about this ? Your guess is as good as mine.

7 comments:

  1. doc andy, i was also talking to my dean when i was given the first-ever engineering mechanics (statics of rigid bodies) offer here in my school, about the textbook we'll going to adapt. First thing in my mind is the book by Singer, but as i was browsing the bookstores there in Avenida, Recto, Morayta, Cubao (NBS Superbranch), and other NBS branches here in Laguna and Batangas, i saw books of Hibbeler (from Mechanics to Structural Analysis). But it's not sufficient for my students. Maybe if we can address this to the main publisher through the net, i think it will be materialized. As what I did in my Advanced Engineering Math, two years ago. What saddens me though is that fellow faculty members who happened to be non-CE, don't appreciate the approach of Hibbeler on 3D analysis, that is, using vectors...as usual, old school kasi! they should re-learn it.

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  2. Andy,

    What we usually do here in the University of Auckland is for each lecturer to prepare his/her course notes and sell them to students (at reasonable price). We have an arrangement where the university will take care of copyright issues, etc. Usage is limited (for instructional purpose only).

    Maybe it would be a good idea for your faculty to come up with their own version of the textbook they can use.

    Just a thought...

    rolly orense

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  3. Hi Sir Andy,

    Yes, I would have to agree with you on this. I've searched everywhere here in Manila for good references for use at work but nobody really sells good books here for Civil Eng. subjects especially for soil engineering, steel and concrete which I really need at work.

    I've spoken to some of the big publishing companies (Pearson Educ. and McGraw-Hill), they said that it's not profitable for them to publish/import CE references because there's a relatively small market for these kinds of books in the Philippines (add to that the presence of pirates here!).

    I've resorted to buying from the US the books which I think I could use as a solid basic reference at work. Even though it was extremely expensive, I believe that investing for knowledge is worth every penny!

    Fabie

    P.S. Suggestion: The use of visual basic integrated with MS Excel at our office has really become very valued. I think that our visual basic class at DLSU should be integrated with MS Excel (VBA or Visual Basic for Applications). There are only a few people in our office who can program VBA and they have become highly valued as they can reduce project activity durations using their programs; thus, increasing efficiency and profitability. I believe that this would give DLSU students a competitive advantage.

    Just a suggestion...

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  4. Thanks Fabie for the feedback. As for the VB with MS Excel - maybe we can do that in the future. But the problem is the time. I think what is important in our CIVCOMP is that you learn by yourself the use of VB - and this is the key to lifelong learning. You learned the Basics in CIVCOMP and now when you needed to integrate VB with MS Excel, I think you can easily manage to do it - Isn't it? Will you be willing to share your time with the CIVCOMP students about your experience?.

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  5. anung magandang CE reviewers na hindi masyado maraming maling solution at typo errors?

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  7. This forced me to write a Book in Fluid Mechanics with Hydrology and water resources.. Too bad I left TIP before it could be completed. I thought it would end here but my experiences in Propmech Corp. have inspired me to restart the project and study more about Computational Fluid Dynamics

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