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Having been an engineering professor for 23 years I have a few thoughts I would like to share with you my thoughts on learning a difficult course like statics. My best students don't learn to just to solve the homework problems that are due this week (or today!), but what they do is learn concepts. With these concepts they are then able to apply the concepts to any problem. Once you understand the concepts you will start to notice that most of these problems are the same, with maybe just a slight twist. But if every problem seems completely different then I would say you haven't mastered the concepts.

I would also suggest that you first look at the problem and ask yourself "How would I go about solving this problem, what are the major steps?". Then watch the video and see how we did it. Your way may be right as well, but it is always good to get another approach. After you are done with a few problems then ask yourself how is it different or the same from other problems. With time you will start to see a pattern.

I am sure you have all heard the saying "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime". This is just another way of saying to "learn the concepts". I urge you to resist looking for a problem that is similar to your homework but watch as many videos as time allows, then do the homework. In the long run you will save time.

Jeff Jones

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