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Graduate Distance Learning In Nuclear And Radiation Engineering At The University Of Texas At Austin

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.527.1 - 6.527.4



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Paper Authors

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William Charlton

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Marsha Creatchman

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Carl Beard

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Sheldon Landsberger

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

Nuclear and Radiological 1560

Graduate Distance Learning in Nuclear and Radiation Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin Sheldon Landsberger, William Charlton, Carl Beard and Marsha Creatchman University of Texas at Austin, Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program, Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab, PRC R-9000, Austin, Texas 78712


In 1998 the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program (NREP) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) began offering a Masters of Science in Health Physics via distance learning. Originally the courses were taped and delivered by mail to the students, which proved to be time-consuming and cumbersome. This system has evolved to be totally Internet based with live transmission using a sophisticated piece of software called Prometheus. Courses offered now include Health Physics, Radioactive Waste Management, Radiation Shielding, Reactor Theory I and II, Radiation Biology, and Risk Assessment. Currently these courses are also being given for traditional graduate degrees in nuclear engineering. A discussion of the pitfalls and successes of this type of Internet approach will be discussed.

1. Introduction

In an ASEE PRISM article published in November 2000, the American Federation of Teachers outlined how there is presently a dramatic increase in distance learning students. In addition, this new way of receiving a degree is attracting many older students. With no or little on-site component, there is a possibility of offering a degree that is of lower quality Thus there is a need to set quality standards. There are many nuclear, radiological and radiation engineering programs that are faced with declining student enrollments at the undergraduate and even graduate levels. This is particularly true for US students at the post- graduate level. Several remedies have been implemented. These include amalgamating nuclear departments with other engineering departments, and offering introductory courses at the freshman level to attract students, undergraduate scholarships, cross-listing courses, and courses in non-traditional nuclear engineering such as health physics, radioactive waste management, medical physics, etc. One approach to attract new graduate students is to provide courses via distance learning. There have been several attempts to do this kind of graduate delivery with varying degrees of success. With the advent of the Internet and the availability of different forms of lecture presentations, distance learning degrees become much more attractive, although still not without pitfalls.

One of the UT College of Engineering’s main goals is to recruit outstanding graduate students. In the nuclear field, as in other engineering disciplines quality students enter the workforce with high paying salaries and the vast majority of them do not consider the possibility of pursuing advanced degrees at the graduate level. Many potential high quality graduate students are at Department of Energy national laboratories, various industries, or other federal or state government facilities. Obtaining an advanced degree or degrees in new applied nuclear engineering areas would be of great benefit to them.

Charlton, W., & Creatchman, M., & Beard, C., & Landsberger, S. (2001, June), Graduate Distance Learning In Nuclear And Radiation Engineering At The University Of Texas At Austin Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9312

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