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An Innovative Alternative To Traditional Engineering Education

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.72.1 - 4.72.6

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Paper Authors

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Jerome Atkins

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1647

An Innovative Alternative To Traditional Engineering Education

Jerome A. Atkins Regents College


Regents College, the First Virtual University in America, is founded on the belief that what one knows is more important than where or how that knowledge was acquired. As an assessment and evaluation institution, the College offers no coursework itself, but rather recognizes credit from other institutions and validates learning acquired by many methods. With no residency requirement, the College recognizes students’ knowledge and competencies demonstrated through alternative modes: traditional college courses delivered by other regionally accredited institutions; college courses delivered at a distance through various media (e.g., print, video tape, Internet); college-level courses delivered by business, industry and the military and validated by the American Council on Education; credit by examination; and special and portfolio-based assessment. The College insures quality in its programs through an Outcome Assessment Framework closely matching the Engineering and Technology Criteria 2000 of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The model of the virtual university as embodied by Regents College is instructive as an innovative alternative to traditional engineering technology education. The practice of validating learning in various modes proffers technical education credentials to a broad base of clients. As the Internet becomes more prevalent as a vehicle for educational delivery, the virtual university will be a boon to increasing engineering technology enrollments by helping in the re-education of displaced workers and providing enhanced access to technical education for individuals disadvantaged by artificial barriers.


Collegiate education "at a distance" has evolved tremendously since the early days of extension programs, correspondence courses and external degrees. Perhaps no technological innovation has had a greater impact on education and information technology development than the computer and the World Wide Web. In the last quarter-century, the personal computer has revolutionized the way Americans get their information and communicate with each other. It is no surprise that formal educational enterprises have also been computerized to the point where nearly 10,000 distance education courses are now available on the Web and proficiency testing by computer is commonplace. There is

Atkins, J. (1999, June), An Innovative Alternative To Traditional Engineering Education Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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