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Distance Learning For Continuing Education What Engineers Want

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.236.1 - 5.236.4



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Paper Authors

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Eugene E. Rutz

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

Session 3222

Distance Learning for Continuing Education – What Engineers Want Eugene Rutz University of Cincinnati


An educational needs assessment was distributed to practicing engineers to evaluate interest in continuing education offered through distance learning technologies. Responses to the assessment indicated preferences of practicing engineers for programs related to engineering management, computer science and engineering, and mechanical / manufacturing engineering. The assessment also indicated that engineers prefer technologies that are computer-mediated.

1 Introduction

The need for continuing education of practicing engineers has been documented and the barriers to wide spread participation in programs has been identified 1, 2. Many educational institutions see distance learning technologies and teaching strategies playing a significant role in overcoming barriers to participation 3. To help quantify practicing engineers’ interest in continuing education offered through distance learning, an educational needs assessment was developed and distributed to approximately 1,000 engineers. The assessment evaluated: learner characteristics and resources, content areas, preferences for distance learning delivery technology, importance of credit-granting programs, and acceptance of distance learning.

2 What We Learned

60% of the engineers responding to the assessment indicated high or moderate interest in participating in continuing education over the next three years. 47% had participated in continuing education or graduate study in the past three years. The responses indicated that 95% of this population have access to a “Pentium PC” or equivalent and 88% had Internet access.

The survey asked individuals to indicate interest (none, slight, moderate, or high) in seventeen distinct content areas. The responses were filtered to only include those individuals with high or moderate interest in professional development programs over the next three years. This data was then analyzed to determine the most requested content areas. These are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Content Areas of Interest Area Interest Engineering Management 62% Computer Engineering 41% Computer Science 40% Mechanical Engineering 35% Manufacturing Engineering 34%

Rutz, E. E. (2000, June), Distance Learning For Continuing Education What Engineers Want Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8315

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