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Pedagogical Choices In Engineering Curriculum: Traditional And Weekend Format Master's Degree Programs

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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

6.777.1 - 6.777.9

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Paper Authors

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Carrie Girstantas

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William Scherer

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

Session #2793

Pedagogical Choices in Engineering Curriculum: Traditional and Weekend Format Master’s Degree Programs

Carrie E. Girstantas, William T. Scherer University of Virginia


One way to meet the increasing demand for experienced and educated professionals in engineering and technology based fields is the formation of degree programs that are concurrent with full time professional work, such as “weekend degree programs”. Academic institutions have a challenge to balance the demand for presenting the most current research in a rapidly changing and growing work place while maintaining the integrity of quality engineering curriculum.

The Department of Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia initiated a Master’s program in a weekend format in the fall of 1999, called the Executive Master’s Degree Program. The general content of the systems engineering curriculum is the same for both the traditional “on-grounds” program and the weekend degree program. This paper highlights some of the pedagogical choices by way of a general taxonomy that the two different educational settings provide for professional engineers.

This paper will frame similarities and differences within each educational experience that are related to characteristic elements of the structures in each degree program. This paper will compare educational elements and their outcomes specific in a Data Mining course with the two different class formats. Also, this paper will discuss further areas of research in engineering education, namely to highlight some of the possibilities that different course and curriculum formats can afford with respect to use of time, technology, and faculty.

General Program Design: Traditional vs. Weekend

In general, a traditional “on-grounds” Master’s degree program student enrolls full time, however the format is flexible enough to enroll other kinds of students. Although the individual courses can vary, most traditional academic settings schedule class meetings several times a week for either 50 or 75 minutes, with most exposure to content occurring in lectures. Integration of material and assessment most commonly takes the form of problems sets, laboratory exercises, exams of various types, with some limited use of various types of cases1. Most assignments are individually completed and presented, and more in-depth contact occurs with an individual professor usually within a specific to predetermined research interest.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Girstantas, C., & Scherer, W. (2001, June), Pedagogical Choices In Engineering Curriculum: Traditional And Weekend Format Master's Degree Programs Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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