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The Development Of Undergraduate Distance Education Engineering Programs In North Carolina

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Development of Undergraduate Distance Education Programs

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1406.1 - 12.1406.7



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Paper Authors


Sarah Rajala Mississippi State University

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SARAH A. RAJALA is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. She also holds the James Worth Bagley Chair and serves as the Department Head. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 1979. In July 1979, she joined the faculty at North Carolina State University, where she served as faculty member and administrator for over twenty-seven years. Dr. Rajala's research interests include engineering education, the analysis and processing of images and image sequences.

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Tom Miller North Carolina State University

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THOMAS K. MILLER III is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University and Director of the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, which he founded in 1993. He received the PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and is a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at NC State. He is currently serving as Vice Provost for Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications.

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

The Development of Undergraduate Distance Education Engineering Programs in North Carolina


The College of Engineering at North Carolina State University has a strong track record in providing distance education to the citizens in North Carolina through credit-based courses and degree programs. To provide increased access to engineering education on the undergraduate level and enhance the success of the student transfer population, the College of Engineering developed two new 2+2 engineering programs and a distance education bachelor of science in engineering program.

The 2+2 programs are designed to provide students enrolled at institutions without engineering programs the opportunity to take some of the fundamental engineering courses in addition to their general education courses. After completion of the first two years, the students transfer to one of the Colleges of Engineering in North Carolina. Students who have the opportunity to take courses such as introduction to engineering, circuits, statics, and dynamics, are well-positioned to complete their education in only two additional years. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering distance education program combines the benefits of site-based and distance learning to students who cannot or are unwilling to relocate to the North Carolina State University campus in Raleigh.

In this paper we discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in working with our partner four-year institutions and community colleges in the development and delivery of undergraduate distance education programs and describe the benefits to the citizens of North Carolina and the participating institutions.

Historical Perspective

In his opening remarks to the 1995 Emerging Issues forum, Chancellor Emeritus Larry K. Monteith stated that one of the founding principles of North Carolina State University (NC State) was “the belief that education should not be confined within the walls of a building or the boundaries of a campus.” At that time, the College of Engineering already had a strong track record of providing distance education to the citizens and industry in North Carolina through credit courses, a degree program, and non-credit extension programs. In the 1994-95 academic year, the College of Engineering’s distance education programs accounted for 46% of the total enrollment of all NC State distance education credit programs combined.

The College of Engineering’s flagship distance education program in 1995 was the Video-Based Engineering Education (VBEE) program.1 From 1985-1995, the VBEE program offered 524 courses to more than 6,500 registrants. A key component of VBEE was the Master of Engineering program. The Master of Engineering degree program is a distance-only, course- work based master’s degree. In 1995, 128 individuals had received their Master of Engineering degree. As of Fall 2006, 483 individuals have been awarded the degree. In addition to the Master of Engineering degree, the VBEE program offered:

Rajala, S., & Miller, T. (2007, June), The Development Of Undergraduate Distance Education Engineering Programs In North Carolina Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1952

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