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4 The Role of the University Continuing education generally is taken to mean formal courses that are not intended to lead toward a degree. Even though credit and degrees are not the primary objectives of continuing education courses how- ever, one would expect to find universities playing a major role. They have faculties and facilities; they are also responsible for the undergrad- uate and graduate education of engineers. Because continuing educa- tion courses build on this educational base, it is reasonable to expect that almost all universities will have significant activities in continu- ing education. But this is not the case. Except for a dozen or so universi- ties with large, well-organized extension programs in urban centers, most institutions use their resources for undergraduates, graduate stu- dents, and research. Nevertheless, this section describes the character- istics of university-sponsored continuing education for engineers and presents several recommendations on its future role. Types of Programs Academic institutions offer several generic types of continuing edu- cation programs: Evening classes meet on campus after dinner one or two evenings per week for 10 to 15 weeks. These courses may use regular textbooks or syllabi written by the instructor. The students are assigned reading 49

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50 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS and problems for homework and take examinations. In content the course may or may not be the equivalent of a regular course given by the university. In some instances, both regularly matriculated students and extension students are enrolled in the same course, which is then designated as concurrent. Short courses meet on or off campus [e.g., in ahotelJ all day for 3 to 10 days. These courses often use a team of instructors. The subject matter is almost always very specialized, and syllabi are usually pre- pared by the instructors specifically for the course. In general the qual- ity is high. Short courses have no homework or examinations, but the students may spend many hours outside of class reading the syllabi and they are encouraged to bring their problems to the class. Because the courses last for only a few days, students may come from a considerable distance and devote themselves full time to the course. Television classes are held in a studio, usually on campus, for transmission live to a remote location. [Sometimes, transmission from the remote location to the campus is also provided. ~ The program may be a "produced" or "candid" classroom. Homework and examinations are picked up and returned by courier. The instructor is available to the students by telephone, and the course content is the same as in courses being televised on campus. Auditors are normally admitted but may or may not be graded. Videotaped classes are similar to television classes. They are pro- duced in the studio and delivered to the remote location, where they may be viewed at a convenient time by one or more students. Here, too, the students have access to the instructor during telephone "office hours, " and homework and examinations are shuttled back and forth by courier. Tutored videotaped instn~ction is a popular variation of video- taped instruction. The tutor's role is to control the rate at which the material is presented and lead the discussion. To facilitate nationwide distribution of videotaped courses, a consortium of universities in 1976 established The Association for Media-Based Continuing Education for Engineers, Inc. [AMCEE). The membership has grown from the origi- nal 12 institutions to 23 members and now represents 90 percent of the media-based graduate and continuing education available to engineers. Certificate programs are planned sequences of courses, usually 6 to 10, leading to the award of a certificate in a designated specialty. The sequence of courses is usually determined by an advisory committee composed of representatives of the profession and the institution. The students are "qualified" for the program before taking the courses.

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THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY Goals and Characteristics of Programs 51 The basic goal of almost all universities, often explicitly mandated in the charter of the institution, is to educate undergraduate and graduate students; in addition, research universities foster research. Each insti- tution also has more specific goals that relate to excellence in education and research. However, a university's specific goals for continuing edu- cation are usually not as well defined and often come under the heading of public service rather than education. One of the "publics" is the engineering profession, for which universities often provide profes- sional courses. {Engineers also may enroll in courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. J But the institution has no mandate to serve the engineering profession and, as we shall see later, few incentives. Whether planned for or not, an institution's continuing education programs influence its courses, research, and relations with industry. Even though the net flow of subject material may be from the credit courses to the continuing education courses, the latter contribute to the credit courses. In addition, short courses provide a showcase for faculty research and often lead to consulting opportunities. Thus, con- tinuing education programs serve as a bridge between industry and academia. Although the variations are many, academic continuing education programs have some common characteristics. The students have a wide range of abilities, motivations, and preparation. They are mature and experienced and tend to be more critical of course content and instruction than regular students. Continuing education students are not compelled by degree requirements to finish a course they find bor- ing or irrelevant. Many are at the midcareer stage. These students challenge the instructor, but teaching them can be a stimulating expenence. Faculty for continuing education courses are drawn from industry as well as the university. In fact, as a consequence of the shortage of regular faculty and insufficient incentives, the majority of continuing education instructors now come from industry. They are good class- room teachers because their reappointment is based on their teaching performance. Those from industry usually have the same academic qualifications as regular faculty but not the record of research achieve- ments. On the other hand, they have a good feel for the applications of engineering research. The content of a continuing education course is often drawn from

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52 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS one or more credit courses, but it is not as dependent on prerequisites and a complete understanding of the underlying theory. Many continu- ing education courses are quite mathematical, but the emphasis is more likely to be on relevant applications. The content of each course is reviewed and approved by the institution but to a degree that varies from one institution to another. Continuing education courses are scheduled to accommodate the working hours of the students. Evening classes are after work, and short courses and videotaped courses are designed to minimize the time lost from the job. Whatever the schedule, however, it is likely to conflict to some degree with the student's commitments to the home, family, and self. Furthermore, the student may not be at peak alertness during continuing education classes. Credit toward an advanced degree is an exception in continuing edu- cation courses. The majority of the students want information, not credit. But credit of some kind does facilitate the management of tui- tion-reimbursement plans. Thus, many institutions give academic or professional credit for their continuing education courses. Also, they may award continuing education units [CEUsJ for satisfactory partici- pation in a course. {Usually, one CEU is awarded for every 10 contact hours. J Good study discipline is an important characteristic of continuing education courses offered by universities. It appears that the attitudes toward attendance and persistence developed by the student in under- graduate or graduate days carry over. The environment is similar, and the students take the university's continuing education courses seriously. The continuing education delivery systems used by universities are the same as those used on campus. And the campus may be extended by television, videotapes, and electronic blackboards to serve small groups of students at remote locations. But technologically sophisti- cated delivery systems have by no means replaced the live instructor, chalkboard, and overhead projector. At both private and public educational institutions, continuing edu- cation courses are self-supporting, with students paying the incremen- tal cost. The large majority of engineering students are reimbursed by their employers upon successfully completing the course. {This prac- tice contributes to the study discipline noted above.J Universities use the same facilities for both their continuing education and regular degree courses j although the use of such facilities sometimes inhabits innovation with delivery systems d. Only at a few institutions have special centers been designed and built for continuing education. Each

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THE ROLE OF THE UNIVERSITY 53 continuing education student takes fewer courses than a full-time stu- dent but requires as much parking space and other services, such as custodial help. Incentives and Disincentives Even though continuing education programs generate some revenue for the university, they are a drain on its resources and have a low priority. Providing continuing education courses is a service to the community; in these times, when all universities are developing addi- tional sources of financial support, enhanced community relations are an incentive to offer such programs. But, on balance, institutions have more disincentives than incentives to provide continuing education programs. Almost the same can be said of faculty. They already have heavy teaching loads and earn less for teaching an extension course than for teaching a regular class or for consulting. Teaching courses at the cutting edge has obvious incentives, including faculty renewal, but the majority of continuing education courses are not at the cutting edge. Teaching extension courses carries little or no weight in the eval- uation of the instructor's performance for advancement. Thus, neither the institution nor the faculty are strongly motivated to participate in continuing education programs. The continuing education student can have many incentives. Such courses permit the engineer to perform better by gaining new insights, becoming aware of alternatives, and keeping up with rapidly changing technology. These courses also give the engineer a means of changing technicalfields or preparing for greater responsibilities, such as those of management. The potential personal gain is so great that one may wonder why all engineers are not enrolling in continuing education courses. Because, in fact, the large majority {well over 75 percent) do not. What then are the disincentives? First, continuing education courses take time from other activities the family, recreation, per- sonal chores. Second, they cost some money, even if the major portion of the fees is reimbursed. The student must pay for supplies, transporta- tion, and meals. Third, they often present inconveniences. Fourth, hard work is required by many continuing education courses. Finally, even though studies have shown that continuing education is recog- nized by the employer, pay raises and promotions are not given auto- matically or based solely on the completion of such a program. Other rewards for the effort made are not always immediately visible to the employee. And, further, the courses often do not have clear objectives that are job related.

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54 CONTINUING EDUCATION OF ENGINEERS Future Trends Continuing education in the future will reflect trends on campus, but some innovations will be especially attractive. This is particularly true of innovations that accommodate great diversity among students and those that can be easily extended beyond the boundaries of the campus. The use of satellites to establish an interactive network is an attractive possibility. Self-paced learning and computer-assisted instruction using microprocessors are examples of teaching methodo- logies that are particularly well suited to the working engineer. And the use of interactive video disks is an example of new technology that produces a high-quality program, independent of its physical location. The interdisciplinary nature of the content and the rapidly changing state of the art make the team approach a practical way to develop new continuing education courses. Representatives from industry make effective members of these teams because industry now recognizes that continuing education is a cost of doing business and not a fringe benefit. One way to strengthen the bridge between industry and academia would be to create the position of engineer/educator, an individual with significant responsibilities both as a practicing engineer and as a teacher. Teaching duties could include course development, instruc- tion both on and off campus, and working with graduate students. Several such individuals within an organization could truly extend the campus of the affiliated university. Finally, there is the prospect of coalitions. Campuses tend to be provincial, but beyond the boundary of the campus are many attractive possibilities for joint endeavors, such as The Association for Media- Based Continuing Education described earlier. Universities and indus- try working together could provide better continuing education at lower cost. Findings 1. Continuing education has a low priority in the large majority of . . . unlversltles. 2. Neither the institutions nor their faculty have significant incen- tives to participate in continuing education programs. Recommendations 1. Universities should reexamine the priority of continuing educa- tion programs for engineering in light of their role during the coming decade and then make a commitment to meet their responsibilities.

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Ro[E of ~ ~y 33 2. Academia should work closely With industry in developing clear objectives for the continuing education of engineers. 3. Because of the need to exploit new educational technologies to accommodate the great diversity among students' to extend the bound- aries of available classes' to respond rapidly to changing technology and to control the costs of continuing education/ industry should assume the responsibility fathom the universities for the continuing . . , . ec ~ucatlon 01 CngmCCrS.