Campus: CSU Long Beach -- June 29, 2004

California State University, Long Beach to Offer Its 1st, Only Program Taught Entirely Over Internet

This summer, the College of Engineering at Cal State Long Beach will take the campus somewhere it has never been before in this ever-evolving tech world of higher education -- giving the university its first and only program taught entirely over the Internet.

In a joint online program with the School of Business and Public Administration at CSU Dominguez Hills, the CSULB College of Engineering will begin offering courses for a master’s of science degree in engineering management (MSEM) in July.

Having recently received its final WASC accreditation, the new program offers its students an interdisciplinary degree that blends nearly equal amounts of engineering and management skills to working engineers, who are bound by time and place, helping them become managers.

“If you look at the statistics, two-thirds of all engineers at some point in their careers become managers,” said Mihir Das, associate dean at the CSULB College of Engineering and co-director of the MSEM program. “The problem is it’s a real stumble-and-go situation because the engineers may not have the background or management skills to be managers. This program is designed to provide them with those skills and make them effective managers.”

It is the type of program that will appeal to local industry leaders from such companies as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Honeywell who are telling university officials that they need engineering managers. These and some other industries and government agencies are fully supportive of this MSEM online program.

Das also believes, however, that using the Internet as the sole delivery tool is a key
component of the program, especially in light of its target group—working engineers. In fact, that
aspect of the MSEM program has given him what he feels is a perfect marketing slogan -- Study Anytime, Study Anywhere.

“The biggest advantage of this program is that it is offered entirely over the Internet, which means it is particularly ideal for those students who are working,” he explained. “It is ideal for those who don’t have time to drive to the campus in the evening after work, those who have job-related travel or even those who get transferred.

“None of the students (under these scenarios) will miss a class because all they need is an Internet connection in their hotel room or wherever they are,” he added. “I mean, technically, they can even study in their pajamas. They can study anytime, anywhere because they don’t have to be fixed with a classroom timetable.”

CSULB’s College of Engineering has primary responsibility for the engineering management component of the program, and similarly, the CSUDH School of Business and Public Administra-tion will deal with the business and organizational management components of the program.

Classes will be delivered over the Internet using the Black-Board course-management software, and the online model being used mirrors the interactive model currently utilized to deliver the MBA and MPA online degree programs at CSU Dominguez Hills.

Called an asynchronous learning model, it incorporates the traditional classroom components of a faculty member, course materials and the shared experiences of a cohort group of classmates. These elements are mediated electronically without a brick-and-mortar classroom and
without the necessity for the learner to be at a fixed place or time.

“Cal State Dominguez Hills has a very successful online MBA program with about 350
students,” Das pointed out. “So, they have already proven the technology and that it can be successfully done.”

Up to now, many engineers have chosen to pursue a traditional master of business administration (MBA) in an effort to obtain the background and skills necessary to be an effective manager. Typically, students are required to complete around 50 units to earn an MBA, which illustrates another advantage of the MSEM program.

“Our program is only going to require 33 units,” Das said. “So, our students will save a considerable amount of time and money going through this management program, which, in addition, is specifically designed for engineers.”

The special session program is being offered through CSULB University College and Extension Services and its extension counterpart at CSUDH with four cycles of 12-week offerings. It will be possible for students to complete the required 33 units for the master’s degree within two years.

A number of students are lined up and ready to go, and they are being asked to prepare to meet the admission requirements, which include the GRE or GMAT. Das said the size of each cohort will be limited to 25 students.

Contacts: Rick Gloady, 562/985-5454
Shayne Schroeder, 562/985-1727

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