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Collaborative Engineering Programs At Frostburg State University

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Inter. collaboratory efforts in engr edu

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.300.1 - 7.300.10



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Paper Authors

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Sami Ainane

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Chandra Thamire

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Session 2660

Collaborative Engineering Programs at Frostburg State University Chandrasekhar Thamire, Sami Ainane Frostburg State University/University of Maryland, College Park

Abstract This paper describes the engineering programs at Frostburg State University, Maryland, developed jointly by the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), and Frostburg State University (FSU). The programs were established in 1997 to serve the students from the surrounding rural areas and thus to serve as a vehicle to enhance the economic development of the region. Nearly a three-fourth of courses in the program are taught by the faculty at FSU, while the remaining are taught over interactive television by faculty at UMCP. Six students from the first batch graduated in May 2001. The challenges encountered in the process so far and the resulting modifications made are described.

Introduction Technology in recent years has enabled a viable alternative to the traditional university programs in the form of distance education. Distance education programs in different forms have existed for a long time. Correspondence courses were known to have existed in a primitive form in the nineteenth century1. Oxford and Cambridge offered extension courses in as early as 1858 to meet the people's demand for access to the educational resources provided by these universities2. Since then, several improvements occurred in distance education. The use of television in a variety of forms commenced in the 1960s and is now an important part in distance education3. With the advent of Internet in the recent years, the opportunities for distance education have widened. Today, distance education is primarily carried out using four types of media: print, voice, video, and computer4. Institutions such as the University of Phoenix, the United States Open University, Western Governors University, and the National Technological University are utilizing these media to offer complete undergraduate and/or graduate programs in distance5.

While such programs offer the student more choices then ever before to earn a degree, only a limited number of opportunities exist for one to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering. This is mostly due to the fact that a number of courses in such programs carry a considerable laboratory and/or design component, normally hard to offer in a distance education mode. This difficulty has often been overcome by universities such as University of North Dacota6, by separating the theory and the laboratory component and offering the theory component in a distance-education mode and conducting the laboratory component in a compressed format during summers on campus.

On the other hand, limited options exist for those living in the vicinity of only a non-engineering university and desiring to pursue an undergraduate degree in engineering. One option for them would be to move to another location where a university offering an engineering degree exists. The second would be to participate in a 3+2 dual-degree program at the non-engineering university, if one exist, that utilizes the non-engineering university's resources for the non- engineering courses during the first three years of study, and the engineering university's resources for the engineering courses during the last two years of study. The current paper

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Ainane, S., & Thamire, C. (2002, June), Collaborative Engineering Programs At Frostburg State University Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10464

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