YDS Students or Grads Speak Up!

Discussion in 'Education' started by BGWard, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. BGWard
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    BGWard New Member

    Well, first off I am brand new to both boatdesign.net forums and the MacNaughton YDS:) In preface, I am looking for as much information as possible on the YDS / MacNaughton Design School. I have read plenty of threads on this site along with a plethora of dialogue from people who seem to know either only a little about the school, are enrolled at a competing school (and thus don't have much good to say), or are enrolled already but are still new to the program (I hope none of that seems harsh...I'm just trying to cut to the chase). I just want some straight answers from someone in the know. I have no complaints and I must say I am quite excited to have begun my studies at YDS.

    I am almost complete with Lesson 1 (of 23) and, in my limited scope of experience, can say that, so far, I've had a good one. I have tried quite hard to research available correspondence Naval Architecture education, which I understand is inherently more difficult(including consideration to the whole YDS Vs. Westlawn debate) and based on my research felt that YDS was a good choice. You can bet I'll give my honest opinion as I progress in the program.

    To get to the bottom-line, I would simply like to hear report from anyone who is currently an advanced level YDS student (let's just say lesson 5 or beyond for starters), or better yet a graduate of the YDS. I would also welcome comments from students who may have started in YDS and are now working as a designer in a firm or on thier own. I simply need to know that this is a path worth pursuing. There is not a strong presence of recent feedback from the YDS student body.

    I know you YDS students are out there! I am just looking for encouraging information folks. When I signed up for this course, I received a document several pages thick of students world wide. I'd like to hear from you! If you're having a good experience, for the sake of the school and my potential future career, let the world know.

    Regards,
    BWard
     
  2. svfrolic
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    svfrolic Junior Member

    That’s strange
    I posted similar question and there is no response. The school has existed for 17 years (?) so somebody should graduate their course…
    Their have reasonable and affordable program.
    I guess a lot of people start course and never finish it, but somebody probably did:?:

    Regards,

    Maciej
    Annapolis, MD
    maciejrynkiewicz@gmail.com
     
  3. sailaweigh
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    sailaweigh Junior Member

    Have you asked the school for a list of graduates?
     
  4. BGWard
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    BGWard New Member

    Good Question

    I have not, but I will. If I get a list, I'll let you know. I recently asked for pictures of completed YDS projects out of pure curiosity. I guess I don't want the MacNaughton's to get the impression that I am questioning the quality of their school or even perhaps their integrity. In fact this would be counter to my intention. I want only to prove my belief that the school is as good as it claims to be. If I were to graduate from YDS, I would want the school to be one of notoriety and one well respected in the industry - it is simply to the benefit of all parties :)
     
  5. svfrolic
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    svfrolic Junior Member

    I asked about number of students and number of people that graduated, Among the other questions. I hope to get response soon.
    What I found on their website is very interesting and looks reasonably.
    I just think that would be a lot of fun to start design boats. I am a boat person:) , I like to work on boats, build boats, sail boats so thats natural step to start design boats.
    Looks like YDS meets my expectations. I just would like hear other`s people opinion.

    Regards,

    Maciej
    maciejrynkiewicz@gmail.com
     
  6. DavidJ
    Joined: Jun 2004
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    I think the main problem is that not everyone reads internet forums. It doesn't matter which school you asked about, I'm sure you would get a similar response.

    These guys all list YDS as being at least partly responsible for their education. Try contacting them to ask the same questions.

    http://www.mooseislanddesign.com/

    They have a lot of beautiful models posted in the gallery section to if you look.
     
  7. BGWard
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    BGWard New Member

    You know DavidJ, I think you are probably right. As I have thought about it more, if I were a graduate (regardless of the school) I probably wouldn't be perusing through the "education" section quite as often as perhaps the design section, etc. The above reference was quite useful to me - thanks for pointing it out.
     
  8. finavar
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    finavar Wallflower

    No YDS Grads?

    Just FYI, as of about 18 months ago, when I asked YDS about graduates, I was told no one had graduated - ostensibly because they all got jobs they wanted. If you look on the website, you'll see that a large part of the course is not actually written yet, at least not enough to post an outline.

    Now I don't want to put MacNaughton and the school down, but I managed to get a job at a design office (without either course, yet...) and those in the business I have spoken too seem to feel that Westlawn is the better-known school - and by that I mean reputation and stability, as well as quality of content. Again, I can't comment on the quality of YDS's material (although I did find Lesson 1 a bit disappointing, it was vague and a teensy bit too opinionated for me - I'd rather learn from an open mind). I also got a large student list with Lesson 1, but I must wonder how many of those progressed past Lesson 1. I know some have, some have done very well indeed, so maybe it is just that they are not here to tell us.

    It depends on what you are expecting and how you learn best. Ideally I'd like to get a sample of each before deciding - there YDS has the advantage, as you can order Lesson 1 for not much, whereas Westlawn it's all or nothing....

    I thought twice before posting this as I didn't want to seem opinionated myself, but, as I said, I have had a chance to speak to a few people whose opinions would matter to a design student (ie they would be potential employers) and most have not even heard of YDS. Of course, for me, the decision has been made for me - my boss has not heard of YDS but is willing to help my pay for Westlawn!

    The truth is if you have what it takes and really want to do it then probably either would suffice - while the education is vital, your personality and drive are what will get you a job.

    Good luck
     
  9. DavidJ
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    DavidJ Senior Member

    I agree with pretty much everything finavar said. I've talked to many people in the industry and they all know Westlawn, none of them have heard of YDS. I also found the first lessons disappointing(I did the first two and have had the third sitting on my desk for almost two years).

    However, I also agree that it is the personality and drive of the individual that will make them successful, not the education. Any correspondence program requires a lot more self motivation than a regular classroom education. I'm positive that anyone who works hard to produce the massive amount of drawings they require would get a job.
     
  10. svfrolic
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    svfrolic Junior Member

    I guess you mean industry in US. However I think the portfolio, projects that one
    has done are more important than what school you graduated. But if somebody does not have any projects that can be shown to the potential employer then it might be important if school is recognized (locally or worldwide).
    That is what I think but I might be wrong...
    I also noticed that people who I know and who graduated university naval architecture program know very little about yacht_and_small_craft_design that is why I am looking for course that is particularly oriented for yacht, not ship, design.
    Also, what I think, it is very important to have a lot of sailing, boat building and other "around the water" experience to be a good yacht designer. It is like a background for further studies.
    I still think that YDS is good choice for me. I am also interested in opinions from people who started YDS but were disappointed. What was so disappointing?

    And maybe somebody knows about other than YDS and Westlawn distance learning programs in yacht design or they are the only two in the world:?:

    Best regards,

    Maciej
    Annapolis,MD
    maciejrynkiewicz@gmail.com
     
  11. sailaweigh
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    sailaweigh Junior Member

    A few days ago on the YDS website, the Director and Instructor of the school, Mr. MacNaughton, said he would post some information pertaining to the questions and comments in this thread. It seems he is too busy. you may want to post to that discussion group and see if you can get some answers. http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/discussion_main_page.htm
     
  12. sailaweigh
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    sailaweigh Junior Member

    What follows is a lengthly response from Tom Macnaughtonon, YDS director, on the YDS website to questions posed to them about:
    1) Lack of Graduates
    2) unwritten lessons
    3) various other questions.
    for a summary of the discussion see: http://www.macnaughtongroup.com/disc..._main_page.htm
    The Mr Camerarie referenced was the poser of the questions.

    I’ve thought about this thread and talked to some of our students about some of the assumptions and what we should do. I am so much inclined toward transparency and openness that I find it hard to understand how people can react negatively to it. With some help from student comments I will try to re-state everything in the simplest most compact manner possible. But I notice Mr. Camerarie has said in one of his posts: “I guess you can read into this what you like.” This is the root problem here. It is not what we do or say, it is that people will look at this and, instead of taking it as literally true, they “read into it” whatever their particular mindset is inclined to. Let’s put this down again as a few points, which I will try to keep brief:
    1. We do not at this writing have a graduate of the entire curriculum. I’m sorry if I did not make that absolutely clear. We have graduates of the “CAD Course” and suppose that we could define roughly the first half of the course as a curriculum qualifying someone as a “Yacht Draftsman”, much like the Landing School program, and grant a diploma in that to run up the number of people we can list as “graduates”. Graduates of any distance learning school of yacht design have always been exceedingly rare. We are the most open school in talking about this. Only about one in every 12,000,000 people is a yacht and small craft naval architect. No school is ever going to produce large numbers of designers. It is a field which intrigues many but which few ever practice.
    2. We have no control over number of graduates. Number of graduates is entirely in the hands of our students. People who go into yacht designing tend to be very independent minded, and more worried about knowledge and ability than formal degrees. How would we possibly induce a student who has been offered a really great position with at top firm or even, as has happened, a partnership, to say, “I can’t take that position yet because Tom wants me to complete the curriculum first.”
    3. We would suggest that an over emphasis on insisting that schools have graduates could be counter productive. In point of fact we could have “graduates” any time we wanted. About every two months we are offered the entire price of the course, and all the money for the books, generally a total of around $6,000 if we will just send them the material and a diploma. We won’t do this. Isn’t it better to go with a school where the students really have to work for the diploma, there are very few graduates, and we won’t do short cuts or “easy” grading or something to run up the number of graduates? Look at it this way. Even though naval architecture is not that difficult a subject, there is a lot to learn. Our course is recognized as being so in depth that, while graduates will always be rare, anyone who has gotten 1/3 to ½ way through it so valuable to design firms that they are going to be recruited. Isn’t that worth a lot? For instance it is safe to say that to get through Lesson Five in our main curriculum you are going to have to be better at developing hull lines than a rather large percentage of the professional designers out there today.
    4. We suggest that people be graduates of our school or equivalent if they want to work for us because they will be the best trained to work cost effectively, which means that they will be able to earn far more money by completing work faster. This benefits them, the client, and the firm or school as a whole. I don’t see what is “impossible” about suggesting this. It is just common sense. Like other firms desperate to get more people to keep up with demand, we have taken on people with less training than this. They are usually students of ours. In that sense we are probably contributing to them not completing the entire curriculum. They tend to feel that, with us to learn directly from every day, all our library to read when in the office, all the lesson materials to read anytime they want, and the knowledge that a year or so working for us will pretty much guarantee that they can get a job anywhere, they don’t really need to complete the formal curriculum.
    5. While it may seem odd that most people are hired long before they can graduate, that is just the way the industry has worked for many years. It is not unique to this school. Remember when I started learning yacht design the majority learned by the apprentice system. They started out emptying waste baskets and sharpening pens, often after school as youngsters. Eventually they became “tracers” going over the drawings in ink. Later they were given rough lines drawings to “fair”, do the calculations on, and ink. Eventually they just naturally were ready to be partners or start their own firms. The only alternative to this at the time I started studying was a school run by a gentleman known as Gerald Taylor White. He called it Westlawn. When I started studying there was nowhere else in the world that had anything approaching a formal curriculum in yacht and small craft naval architecture. Shortly thereafter Ted Brewer and Jim Betts founded YDI. It is people like me who are trying to move the industry toward a time when most people do have complete formal educations.
    6. Apparently no matter how we phrase the fact that the latter part of the course is revised more frequently than the earlier lessons, which have become pretty fixed in at least the section/subject headings in each lesson and therefore easy to summarize, Mr. Camerarie and others will persist in reading this as “unfinished”. Remember this is an assumption. Apparently this is solely because we haven’t provided lesson summaries after Lesson 10. Notice how even after I tried to explain that there is a bibliography, a syllabus, and lesson materials for each of these lessons this has been reduced by Mr. Camerarie to a “syllabus of books to read”. In other words he has redefined “syllabus” to just meaning the same thing as “bibliography”. For the record a “syllabus” is a “summary outline of a discourse, treatise, or course of study, or of examination requirements. This is from Webster’s.
    7. Anyone looking at the material people have to master for any of our lessons would hardly find there to be a lack of “structured and written material”. In some lessons most or all material is in Lessons that we’ve written because there are no other printed texts available, or at least none as advanced as we can write. In some lessons, where adequate texts are available, most of the material is in book form with the lesson materials being principally guidance in what to study in the books and how to relate it to the problems of yacht and small craft naval architecture. In no way is any of this any different than any college classes, except that the lectures are replaced by some combination of our written lesson materials and individual email “conversation” depending on what works best for the particular part of the curriculum. On average I would say that there are both more books and more lesson material written by us per lesson than there are for the average college undergraduate or graduate course.
    8. After consultation with some of our students, people who’ve worked with us in the past, and our present staff, everyone seems to agree that the problem here is not the actual material but people’s assumptions and perceptions all of which are based on the fact that I didn’t want to post lesson summaries that we would have to remember to keep updating frequently. Therefore with the concurrence of those students who have commented, we have simply “frozen” the summaries as they are on the first pages of each lesson at present and posted them that way. This should make it clear at least what each lesson contains at present. When anyone notices the dates of those getting old, remind me and I will update the page.
    9. The question of what would happen if I died, seems a bit premature. My doctor tells me she expects that given my lifestyle and family history, I’ve got a good chance at 30 more years. This is a very low stress profession and we tend to live and work a long time. Nevertheless, there is no question but what it would be most efficient if I could turn all lesson correction over to others and concentrate on research, doing more illustrations, revising text materials, doing other writing, establishing a materials test lab, writing some special purpose texts covering advanced structural analysis for composites from the marine structures point of view so that naval architecture students don’t need to buy quite so many reference books, etc. We are actively working on trying to expand the number of instructors. In the past we had two instructors, myself and Michael Chudy, one of our most advanced students. However after several years working with us, during which he did, great design work, a great deal of valuable research and illustration work on lessons 4b and 4c among a great many other things, Michael left to found his own firm with Sven Oftedal, who is another one of our most advanced students who also worked with us for some time, and Ed Scott who had also worked for us awhile back and was a student at Westlawn. At present I have two particularly brilliant students in mind whom I hope to train to work as instructors eventually. One of them is young, particularly inclined to in depth study, research, and testing and might easily take over the school some day. The other is very highly trained in another field involving engineering and design and once up to speed in yacht and small craft naval architecture would bring a lot to our capabilities. The plan is to keep training staff and instructors until we reach a point where all lessons can be taught by an instructor equal or superior in skill and knowledge to myself in the particular area that they are working in. However if I dropped dead tomorrow my business partner and wife, Nannette, is fully capable of assigning lesson corrections to colleagues either temporarily or permanently according to their special areas of expertise.
    10. I think there is a lot of confusion about the term “naval architect”. Every profession has to call itself something. The dictionary definition is “one whose profession is the designing of ships”. Our profession is naval architecture with a specialty in yacht and small craft design. There is only a restriction on who calls themselves a naval architect in two states that I know of Washington and Oregon. This is based on the assumption that in those states a naval architect is essentially claiming to be an engineer and should be licensed as an engineer. In those states people in our profession generally call themselves yacht designers. It is my understanding that this law has been successfully challenged in Washington on the grounds that naval architects not claiming to be engineers should have the right to use such a generally accepted name for their profession. However please note this is not about an educational level. It may be worth mentioning that both SNAME and RINA require two members of their organization to recommend any new members. Yet both these organizations have accepted members based on our recommendation even though I am not a member of either organization. It is ironic that we got into teaching because we were concerned about the low educational level of naval architects specializing in yachts and small craft. We have apparently been part of so raising the educational expectations that my biography, which 40 years ago indicated an above average education for my profession, can now be used to question whether I should call myself a professional! In any case I have been a practicing naval architect for about 39 years now and have pretty much devoted my free time to further study in the field for all that time. It might be helpful for people to think less about the name, which can be anything “naval architect”, “yacht designer”, “yacht and small craft magician” or what have you, and just go by designer’s reputation. There is no question that I have the reputation, I leave it to you to judge whether it is deserved on not deserved, of being an encyclopedia on everything about yacht design, boats, and living aboard. Given the number of practicing yacht designers who come to us for additional training, and even often start from scratch and take our course to pick up things that they missed we must be pretty well thought of. Let’s be totally transparent here: Are there areas in my knowledge that I worry about insufficient information? Yes, of course. Laboriously over many years I have reviewed a great many of the practices of our industry trying to make sure that I understood everything thoroughly. I particularly have been suspicious of things that “everybody knows”. As a result some of our information in our lessons is among the most advanced on the planet. However we find that the information and design practices used in anything other than the very simplest composite structures are almost universally very poor throughout the industry. Much of our studies have already shown that a great many practices in designing composite construction are completely untenable. Over and over we see vessels built that we can predict will have structural problems, yet when they do it is treated as a “freak” problem or “some undetected flaw in construction.” Yet we must say that we still are not confident that we ourselves can design exotic composite structures with confidence that we have produced optimum advanced composite vessels, for which we can perfectly predict the structural behavior. This means that is some cases we have had to use greater safety factors in determining required stiffness than may ultimately prove to be needed.
    11. Again the assumption was made that the lessons Mr. Brewer handed me were more complete than what we are providing, even though Mr. Camerarie has presumably seen neither set of lessons! Actually at that time many of the later lessons of YDI were still pretty rough, certainly rougher than ours are now. I remember that one of my early jobs was inking Ted’s illustrations for some of the YDI lessons. Just as I do they went on revising their lessons as long as the school was in existence. I’m sure Westlawn is revising their curriculum pretty constantly as well. It is my understanding, though I may be off on this, that their curriculum has been heavily revised at least three times in the last 40 years. Does that make them a bad school? No, of course not. It is a good thing that they revise their curriculum just as we revise ours.
    12. Although we do not try to keep track of where all our alumni are working, which would be a full time job in itself, we have always provided examples of people working in the field who attended our school. The only people we don’t give out information on are people who for one reason or another would prefer we not give their name out. For instance many practicing designers would prefer that their clients not know that they feel the need more education. Also large ship naval architects transitioning to yacht and small craft work are finding that they cannot get work without retraining. When they are sent to us by firms they are applying to, they often don’t want to emphasize to other firms they might apply to that people felt they needed more education.
    13. We want this forum to be completely open. It has no value if is not equally open to all. If you are going to post here you must expect others to have different perspectives. If you feel free to question us and critique our work publicly you must expect others to do the same with your postings. Otherwise the discussion group loses its usefulness. The most qualified people to talk about our school other than ourselves, and the most objective, are likely to be people who have studied or worked with us and one should think about what it means in regard to one’s own objectivity and logical position if you do not want to hear what they have to say.
    14. One point which I hope everyone will note is that we are, so far as I know, the only school and the only design office to have a completely open forum on their web site where anyone can email and not only just ask questions but also critique us. I hope that this will increase people’s confidence in us. The very fact that this thread exists instead of vanishing should tell you something about us. It would take seconds to make all this disappear. But it will stay, at least until the next time the server loses our discussion files and can’t get them back, which has happened three times in the last 10 years! The only material that we delete is legally actionable postings about others, four letter word filled communications, people soliciting for illegal activities, and just plan completely off topic stuff of the “come see my web site full of naked pictures of myself” sort. This has run long again. These topics mean a lot to me. In fact we are talking about my life’s purpose. It is hard to write briefly when you are trying to find a way to phrase things so that there is no room for people to “reading things into” what you say.
     
  13. kenalgan
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: Jacksonville, FL

    kenalgan Senior Member

    YDS - Course

    As a student at YDS i have been doing extensive research in other schools trying to find out which one is the most suitable for the Naval Architecture area.

    I have looked in the Landing School but, it seemed as a educational facility that would prefer to have the students at sight and more adopt in "in house" education rather than distant learning. (i decided that the landing school is not suitable for me)

    I have looked in Westlawn. It looks very promissing at first, especially if you look under success stories... A couple of my favorite designers are listed under there but, while you are browsing around you start to get the feeling that the web site is constantly trying to forward you to the enrollment page...
    I personally dont like that but, it's still ok! Plus in the success stories they have also enlisted people that not have finished the entire course! As i am livinig on the oposite side of the planet distant learning is a must for me. So i start to read the fees.. 2500$ a year or module. Thats not very cheap for me but, its education that matters. Then i read that they had time constraints. 1 year for 1 module and 4 modules make around 10000$. Ouch! I have a degree in the IT field. I have spent 32.000$ for that but, i was using the facility every day, taking tutors time every day, i was using the university...
    At the end you get a paper saying your degree. But, i am learning from home, on my own personal time. They are to just send me educational material. Biggest cost: printing expense and post. 10000$ sounds alot to me.

    On the other hand i have also seen that it is not exactly required for you to get a degree anyway for the professional life. I seen this every where i looked.

    Even with the high cost i was left with 2 choices Westlawn - YDS... Which one?
    I read through the catalogs and forums. I started to see a little bit of grudge comming from Westlawn to YDS as if some kind of hate for some reason. But, i haven't seen much from YDS to Westlawn. It does create a question mark why would one student condemn the other unless they felt some sort of threat.

    I have studied in large and popular schools. I have been a teacher at the best succeeding school in the Country for 3.5 years teaching IT.

    So for myself i concluded one result. I chose the school that was more suitable for me on time management and price and it was also a plus on the subject that the school i chose didn't feel any threat from the others.

    One has to follow their own guts!!! As all of them have said!
    YOU DONT NEED A DEGREE TO BE A NAVAL ARCHITECT!!!
     
  14. westlawn5554X
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: home lazy n crazy

    westlawn5554X STUDENT

    Traditional boat builder from past era or most asia dont really have a N.A. but survive... but new tech, material and method improve constantly so... you really need an education, I think. All school if learn right would have a 80% improve on our skill and knowledge and that's what is important.:)
     

  15. RANCHI OTTO
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: TRIESTE (ITALY)

    RANCHI OTTO Naval Architect

    Westlawn graduated-------Otto Ranchi........!

    Fantastic school for me! Invest in your talent....

    Today, I'm proud to have finished the school in just two years while working in an office (naval architecture)
     
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