Many engineers decide to go back to school to address a specific deficit in their education. The knowledge deficits are typically revealed at work when they find that their undergraduate degree didn't prepare them for the demands of their current job.
This is common for mid-career engineers who rise to management ranks only to find they lack business skills, but knowledge deficits can arise from specialized industries and roles as well.
Stevens Institute of Technology offers a wide range of Masters of Engineering programs, many of them i) targeted to specific industry niches and ii) available online.
Those two facts help to explain why there are ~1,300 Masters of Engineering Students enrolled at the school.
Robert Zotti, who runs the online education arm called Web Campus, explained, “Today there are nine Masters of Engineering programs at Stevens that can be taken entirely online, in addition to an MBA with several engineering concentrations. We continue to develop other online Masters of Engineering degrees as well.”
Web campus has been around since 2000, and started with no real-time interaction. Now a majority of the courses have some element of online interaction.
The list of Engineering Masters programs that are available entirely online includes:
- Computer Engineering Masters
- Master of Engineering Management
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Masters
- Software Engineering Masters
- Systems Engineering Masters
- Systems Security Engineering Masters
- Master of Engineering in Space Systems
- Network Information Systems Masters
- Materials Science Masters
In addition, Masters in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics are available partially online.
Students are introduced to their online environments during a Web Campus orientation week. The instructors contact every student to set their expectations
Once the course starts, it falls into a rhythm. There is a primary topic each week. At the start of the week, students typically read background information on the topic, mid-week they discuss it and towards the end of the week they submit an assignment.
The readings come from various sources including Internet resources and text books. The conversations mid-week are supported by web conferences and discussion boards. These allow asynchronous conversations for students who can't attend at a predetermined time. The end-of-week assignments can range from writing a paper, or team assignments to presentations. Any lecture that is done through the school's web conferencing system can be recorded, making it easy for students to catch up if they could not logon to the event in real-time.
When conducting real-time webinars, instructors have been very flexible. They appreciate that many students have busy schedules which may make it hard for them to participate in live sessions. Conversely, students appreciate the fact that their instructors conduct real-time events and do their best to attend. This is particularly handy when instructors can talk students through difficult concepts in a few minutes rather than getting stuck in email exchanges or discussion boards for a week or more.