As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of summer plans, many Oregon State students opted to take summer term courses to get a leg up on the coming school year. Among those students was honors ecological engineering major Lorenzo Curtis, who took ENGR 211 Statics taught by Dr. Jeffrey Knowles. ENGR 211 is class that uses algebra, trigonometry, and calculus to analyze physical forces in support systems and machines.
Not having taken a summer term course before, Lorenzo was worried that the workload — combining a summer job with his new academic commitments — would be overwhelming and wouldn’t allow him time to relax after a stressful spring term. What made the class a positive experience, however, was that Dr. Knowles created a low-stress environment and supported his students both in and out of class.
“He gave a manageable yet sufficiently challenging workload,” Lorenzo says.
During lectures, Dr. Knowles ensured that students understood the material by explaining concepts through example problems. “He did a great job at being thorough [in his explanations], while also pausing and asking if there were questions or points of clarification,” Lorenzo says.
This awareness of his students’ needs extended beyond the classroom. Dr. Knowles posted a recording of the day’s lecture to Canvas after every class so his students who were unable to make it to lecture wouldn’t miss crucial material, and he held virtual office hours weekly to help his students outside of normal class hours. For Lorenzo, all the extra help Dr. Knowles provided made taking ENGR 211 remotely a worthwhile experience.
By Christopher McCracken: Media Assistant, Honors College