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A Web Based Graduate Certificate For It Professionals Design Choices And First Evaluation Results

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.127.1 - 6.127.13



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Tanya Zlateva

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Julia Burstein

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Session 1369

A Web-Based Graduate Certificate for IT Professionals – Design Choices and First Evaluation Results

Tanya Zlateva, Julia Burstein Computer Science Department, MET College, Boston University

Abstract This paper presents the design of a web-based Graduate Certificate program in Databases and Client/Server and discusses first evaluation results. Our goal was to find a format that achieves course quality at low development costs, allows for easy student access, and further development. This led to the following design choices: (i) A blend of face-to-face on-site lectures and web-lectures, synchronizing streaming video and audio, with a slide presentation, graphics and animation; (ii) On-line weekly office hours; (iii) Weekly homework assignments, proctored examinations and/or semester projects; (iv) Communication and course management through a course web site, including downloadable teaching materials, homework submission tools, grade management, threaded discussion, chat, e-mail. The first course taught in this format is evaluated against a control section delivered in parallel, and in the traditional classroom format. Student performance and satisfaction in the distance and on-site sections, based on final grades and course evaluation, were very similar. In addition, responses to questionnaires targeting the technology and the delivery format showed a clear endorsement of the approach. Some evaluation results were counter intuitive: very few students requested additional on-line office hours, there was no strong preference for either "on-line only" or "face-to-face only" instruction. This indicates that the combination of synchronous and asynchronous delivery successfully addresses the tradeoff between flexibility and synchronicity.

1. Introduction

The explosive growth of the Internet and the related development of web technologies for engineering, science, business, and virtually every field of human endeavor have dramatically increased the need for education and training in the field of information technology 1. For over twenty years, the Computer Science (CS) Department at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) has focused on the delivery of graduate and undergraduate education for working adults on a part-time basis. Currently, the Department offers MS degrees in Computer Science, Computer Information Systems and Telecommunications, several graduate certificates, as well as a BS in Computer Science degree. Enrollments increased by 21.87 % over the last five years, and, in the Fall 2000 semester, reached 2,044 registrations distributed over 80 course sections at six different locations. Despite this growth, there was increased demand by well-established companies for state-of-the-art programs (degree or certificate) offered at multiple locations, with a curriculum tailored to the company’s needs. The department has a broad course offering and extensive experience in designing and delivering on-site programs for industry, and

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Zlateva, T., & Burstein, J. (2001, June), A Web Based Graduate Certificate For It Professionals Design Choices And First Evaluation Results Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--10007

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