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Distance Learning Trends For Graduate Engineering

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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

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.435.1 - 7.435.9



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Paper Authors

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Linda Leffel

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Glenda Scales

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Cheryl Peed

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

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Distance Learning Trends for Graduate Engineering

Dr. Glenda R. Scales, Dr. Linda G. Leffel, Cheryl A. Peed Virginia Tech

Introduction Constant technological changes require employees to seek educational opportunities to stay competitive. It is estimated that 50% of all employees’ skills become outdated within 3 to 5 years.1 In today’s society it is quite clear that investment in intellectual capital is important and valuable in this new economy.

Intellectual capital is now a major engine of economic growth. Research translated to working ideas leads to innovation. Innovation leads to new products and services that lead to economic growth. Given this type of environment, where there is pressure to produce, it is important for decision makers to value and support educational opportunities in order to stay competitive.

Many engineers decide to update their skills either through short courses, workshops, or enrolling in graduate degree programs. Educational opportunities are available via distance learning through a variety of delivery formats. Furthermore, an increasing number of four- year universities are offering graduate degrees, certificates, and short courses via distance learning. The challenge for employees working in high demand fields, such as engineering and information technology, is finding the right course, compatible learning environment, and convenient time to pursue their life long learning goals. Additionally, the responsibility of the worker is stretched thin given the multiple roles and responsibilities required of him or her at work and at home. How do educators accommodate the learner working in the “Age of Information” and under increasing demands from home and work? To answer this question Virginia Tech conducted a statewide market research study in order to identify the distance education and professional continuing education opportunities for the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program CGEP. The outcomes of the study provided researchers with insight to key perspectives related to distance learning trends as well as the educational needs of professional engineers for the future.

Overview of the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program is the premier distance learning education program of graduate engineering courses and degree programs in Virginia. This consortium, which consist of five universities: Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason, has provided graduate engineering courses to working engineers and other qualified individuals with strong backgrounds in the sciences since the early eighties. This collaborative effort has served thousands of engineers in a variety of disciplines throughout the years. We believe that professional continuing education and distance learning is a must for continued innovation and economic Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Leffel, L., & Scales, G., & Peed, C. (2002, June), Distance Learning Trends For Graduate Engineering Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10707

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015