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Giving The World A "New" Approach To Engineering Education

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.213.1 - 2.213.4



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Paper Authors

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T. Al Austin

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Steve Wells

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

Session 1649

Giving the world a “NEW” Approach to Engineering Education

Steve Wells, Dr. T. Al Austin Old Dominion University (ODU) / Iowa State University (ISU)

Abstract In providing for the professional/vocational training of our students, the best use of our allotted educational hours and dollars would be to invest them in a program specifically designed to use the acquisition of knowledge as the vehicle with which to train them to utilize their God given skills. The distinction here is that knowledge is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The technology explosion we have witnessed in the past decade is providing a new paradigm for students to learn without the time and financial investment of attending the “traditional” university classroom. While the traditional classroom method has certain advantages, new technologies open up whole new student populations whose educational needs can be met by universities. Distance learning is not an attempt to replace the traditional university approach, but rather to broaden the ability of universities to fulfill their mission to provide quality education to a more diverse group of students. Providing students with the needed resource books, software and weekly guidance, professors are able to teach with the same effectiveness as if they were teaching in the classroom, while students can take the course from anywhere in the world. While this method is in its infancy, its potential to dramatically increase enrollment and to service students globally recommend it for serious consideration and development.

Purpose The purposes for offering courses via the Internet are myriad. To list the most salient: To enable the student to take classes on his own schedule and within certain limitations at his own pace. To provide a viable alternative to the traditional university education to students who need it. To allow the university to expand its outreach across state and national borders. To enable the university to increase its enrollment. To keep the university competitive in the ever changing educational market.

Overview In the past three semesters 5 courses were taught using the Internet as the primary medium of communication. These courses were developed and taught through a joint effort between a Mechanical Engineering Technology faculty member at ODU and a Civil and Construction Engineering faculty member from ISU. The majority of the students enrolled in the courses were from a home education organization called the Advanced Training Institute International. The students ages ranged from 16 to 38 years old. The table below illustrates the frequency of courses offered, the total number of states from which the students were taking the course and the last column indicates the number of students that have successfully completed them.

Austin, T. A., & Wells, S. (1997, June), Giving The World A "New" Approach To Engineering Education Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6589

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