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Non Traditional Learning And Assessment Approach To Nuclear Engineering Technology Education

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Curriculum Development & Assessment in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering

Tagged Division

Nuclear and Radiological

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.961.1 - 11.961.8



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Paper Authors


Byron Thinger Diablo Canyon Power Plant

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Dr. Byron Thinger is a member of the Nuclear Engineering Technology Faculty at Excelsior College in Albany, NY. He recently retired from PG&E's Diablo Canyon Power Plant where he was a Senior Nuclear Engineer. He is a Senior Life Member of IEEE, a Life Member of ASEE, and a member of ANS.

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Altaf Memon Excelsior College

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Dr. Altaf A. Memon holds MSCE, MPW, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. He is currently serving as the Interim Dean, School of Business and Technology, Excelsior College in albany, NY.

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Li-Fang Shih Excelsior College

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Dr. Li-Fang Shih holds a Ph.D. degree in Education from SUNY Albany and is currently Director of Online Course Management in the School of Business and Technology, Excelsior College, Albany, NY.

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

“Non-Traditional Learning and Assessment Approach to Nuclear Engineering Technology Education” Abstract

One of the major challenges of the twenty-first century for colleges is to provide the kind of support that ensures that non-traditional prospective students are not disenfranchised by obstacles in their life situation. Excelsior College offers an effective learning model for accommodating the non-traditional student. Excelsior College emphasizes student assessment activities, including conventional assessment techniques, articulation agreements, industrial partnerships, and testing. It also has recently embarked on an extensive program of distance course delivery.

Excelsior’s Nuclear Engineering Technology program represents this innovative assessment, articulation, industry collaboration, and course delivery to further the cause of recognizing and educating worthy students who might not otherwise be able to complete traditional degree requirements. It is shown in this manuscript that this model is effective for creating nuclear engineering technologists that pass all the benchmarks for success in the nuclear field and serve as a testament to the Excelsior credo, “What matters is what the individual knows, not where or how he or she learned it.”

There are three keys to successful execution of this model. First is the customization of program content to the individual student. The second key is the assessment, recognition, and incorporation of the specialized nuclear training within the program curriculum. The third key is strict adherence to the objectives and outcomes of the academic program in which the student is enrolled as dictated through effective counseling and advising by the Excelsior College staff. To navigate this path and determine that the program Objectives and Outcomes have been met, Excelsior has devised a unique assessment tool called the Integrated Technology Assessment. TAC of ABET provides a strong incentive for Outcomes based Assessment and the accreditation process has helped inform and improve the concepts to the continuing benefit of the program and the individual student.

The Challenge

The typical undergraduate college student enters college straight out of high school, attends for four years, graduates, and then begins his or her professional career. Such students are increasingly being displaced by those with more complicated life histories that may make it difficult for them to realize their full potential in a traditional learning environment. One of the major challenges for colleges in the twenty-first century is to provide the kind of support that ensures that non-traditional prospective students are not disenfranchised by the hurdles of their life situation. Indeed, there may be attributes to their background that can enhance their prospects for a college career if an inventive approach to matriculation and assessment is performed.

There are many obstacles that can prevent a student from graduating from a four year institution. One particularly common one is mobility enforced by job requirements that restrict students from completing a sufficient number of credits at any one school. This is

Thinger, B., & Memon, A., & Shih, L. (2006, June), Non Traditional Learning And Assessment Approach To Nuclear Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1132

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