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Learning Environment In Engineering Technology With A High Percentage Of Non Traditional Students

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.364.1 - 4.364.10

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Zbigniew Prusak

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

Session 1649

Learning Environment in Engineering Technology with a High Percentage of Non-Traditional Students

Zbigniew Prusak Central Connecticut State University

Abstract The paper describes various aspects of university learning environment where a significant percentage of students works full time and has a substantial professional experience. Changes in population of Engineering Technology students at Central Connecticut State University largely reflect needs of the local and national job market as well as general perception of local population on the discipline. The change of non-traditional student population in Engineering Technology at CCSU in the past 10 years is described in relation to the economic health and activities of the area’s industry. Reasons behind continuous education of workforce from personal, society and business perspectives are described. Lack of theoretical knowledge and limited availability of time to study, often place the non-traditional students at a disadvantage compared to day-time students. Challenges, as well as learning atmosphere diversification the non-traditional students bring to the classroom are also described. Changes in working students availability for evening and day classes, preliminary analysis of causes of the changes and impact on planning of academic activities are presented. Undertakings by some local companies whose employees attend evening and day classes are described. Some discipline-related technical and non-technical skills are examined in relevance to traditional and non-traditional students. Learning environment with a mixed population is also described from the point of view of benefits to traditional, non-traditional students and faculty.

1. Introduction People with some work experience become students for the first time, or return to a university due to various circumstances dictated largely by their economic situation and personal goals. Growing demands of work environment for a more skilled employee and more updated knowledge also play an important role in decisions to attend a university. Shifts in local and global industries due to economic and political changes, as well as geographic movement of manufacturing or service activities also change regional demands for certain skills of a workforce. In the 1990’s many people became students in order to acquire skills highly demanded by their workplace or job market at large. Various motives behind taking such step, ranging from a more interesting job to advancement at work and better employability, are described later in the paper. Such students are an important part or the overall student population in the state of Connecticut, which at the beginning of 1990’s was one of the hardest hit by the defense budget cutbacks. However, despite heavy cuts in this budget, defense-related and high-

Prusak, Z. (1999, June), Learning Environment In Engineering Technology With A High Percentage Of Non Traditional Students Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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