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The Importance Of An On Campus Residency Experience In Distance Education Programs

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

New Trends in Graduate Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

14.1226.1 - 14.1226.9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--4527

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4527

Download Count

88

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Paper Authors

biography

Thomas Descoteaux Norwich University

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Director of Engineering Graduate Programs
Norwich University
Northfield, VT

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biography

David Muckerman CH2M HIll

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Client Service Manager
CH2M HILL
Atlanta, GA

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biography

Scott Sabol Vermont Technical College

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Professor and Chairman
Architectural & Building Engineering Technology Dept.
Vermont Technical College
Randolph Center, VT

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

The Importance of an On-Campus Residency Experience In Distance Education Programs

Abstract This paper discusses the importance of an on-campus residency experience to the success of a distance education program. The benefits of such an experience are described and reinforced with survey data and anecdotal evidence.

Norwich University’s School of Graduate Studies is home to 10 Internet-based graduate programs, including a Master of Civil Engineering program. At the completion of 18 months of distance study (36 credits), all students are required to spend one week on the University’s campus in Vermont during the month of June. The week’s activities include a mix of academic and social events designed to bond the students to each other, to their faculty, and to the bricks and mortar University. Academic debates on professional issues, social events with fellow students, families, faculty, and administrators, and a live-in experience in the University’s dormitories are but a few of the activities of residency week. The week culminates with a traditional commencement exercise.

Our experiences have shown these residency events to be a fundamental component of the overall educational process. After attending the events most students agree that Residency is a highly enjoyable and useful experience that should be continued. Live, in-front-of-an-audience capstone design project presentations during the week, peer reviewed by students and faculty, present an opportunity for final academic and professional education and training as part of the graduate program. Just as important, the week provides them with irreplaceable opportunities to cement relationships with classmates and faculty, as well as being a key vehicle for the University to begin building life-long relationships with its newest alumni.

Introduction Colleges and universities are continually searching for ways to “bond” students to campus; i.e. to provide them with a sense of place with the goal of creating loyal alumni. Historically faculty and staff were required to focus their relationship building activities on only two categories of students: residential and commuter. Today many institutions are finding it increasingly necessary to add a third category: distance students.

Norwich University’s School of Graduate Studies (SGS) is home to 10 Internet-based graduate programs, including a Master of Civil Engineering program. At the completion of 18 months of distance study (36 credits), all students are required to spend one week on the University’s campus in Vermont during the month of June. The week’s activities include a mix of academic and social events designed to bond the students to each other, to their faculty, and to the bricks and mortar University. Academic debates on professional issues, social events with fellow students, families, faculty, and administrators, and a live-in experience in the University’s dormitories are but a few of the activities of residency week. The week culminates with a traditional commencement exercise.

Our experiences have shown these residency events to be a fundamental component of the

Descoteaux, T., & Muckerman, D., & Sabol, S. (2009, June), The Importance Of An On Campus Residency Experience In Distance Education Programs Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4527

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