June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.272.1 - 14.272.8
Benchmarking Distance Education in Engineering Management Programs Abstract
Distance education is a strategic initiative that has been applied by a number of universities over the past decade. Before deploying a new distance education program, it is very important to understand the impact of such a strategic decision on the program growth. The purpose of this paper is to identify the possible impacts of distance education on both enrollment and the number of degrees granted in Engineering Management (EMGT) programs. The results of a benchmarking analysis among the top twenty EMGT programs with the highest number of degrees granted show that although programs that deploy distance education techniques might have less full-time students, a significant increase in part-time enrollment could result in an overall increase in the total enrollment and degrees granted. The paper also discusses some of the best practices used by these programs for distance education delivery techniques.
Based on Gibbons, the number of Master’s-degree students enrolled in engineering management programs doubled between 2003 and 2006, despite an overall decrease of 9% in engineering Master’s enrollment. In 1999, the total engineering management Master’s enrollment was about 1,767 students. In 2003, this number went further up to 2,229 and it was up to 4,625 in 2006. This trend is also supported by the continued increase in the number of programs over the past 30 years. As reported in Alvear et al. , about 30 engineering and technology management programs existed in 1970s, and currently this number is over 160.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Engineering and Natural Science Managers is projected to increase by 8% (estimated as 14,000 people) between the 2006 - 2016 time period. Based on this projection, one can expect further growth in engineering management programs over the years to come.
Given all these good news about growth, if you are an engineering management program that did not observe any of these trends in the enrollments, you might be asking yourself, what should you be doing to get on this pleasing growth wave?
The Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been granting MS Degree in Engineering Management over ten years. Eighty percent of the MS program’s students are working professionals, whereas the rest are full-time students. It is a relatively small program with about 25-30 graduate students. Recently, distance education, specifically online learning has been considered as one of the major strategies to grow the MS program. The main question was whether
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