• The pressures and incentives of global business and the new capabilities of information technology are enabling radically different approaches to education. Although complete exploration of the topic is beyond the scope of the present study, review of several Japanese and U.S. initiatives shows how engineering education is being affected.
As the joint task force study was nearing completion, the Japanese working group suggested adding a discussion of how the roles of engineering schools and universities in Japan and the United States might change in the future. Significant changes could result from shifts in the engineering environment, such as the globalization of engineering activity discussed in Chapter 6, and the potential for new approaches to education enabled by information technology. This chapter is meant to extend and supplement the discussion of undergraduate and graduate engineering education contained in Chapter 4, and the discussion of continuing education in Chapter 5. Although a comprehensive examination of these issues in either the United States or Japan is beyond the scope of the study, the joint task force hopes to stimulate discussion among engineers and engineering educators on the future university.
A recent article in the journal Issues in Science and Technology puts forward a vision for a future U.S.-based “Global University” appropriate to a world in which business and engineering activities are global and continuous, with U.S. citizens making up a smaller proportion of the global engineering workforce.1 The model calls for academic institutions to utilize new technologies and branch campuses to better serve the needs of industry, especially in engineering fields. In order to facilitate this change, new international approaches to standards and accreditation would allow an expansion of cooperative degree programs between universities, and the creation of new educational programs tailored to the needs of individual students and their ultimate employers. Each university would emphasize its core strengths in pursuing this vision and could “franchise” their programs to commercial service providers or other universities. Some U.S. institutions are already moving rapidly in this direction, as will be discussed below.
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives 7 The Future University SUMMARY • The pressures and incentives of global business and the new capabilities of information technology are enabling radically different approaches to education. Although complete exploration of the topic is beyond the scope of the present study, review of several Japanese and U.S. initiatives shows how engineering education is being affected. CONTEXT As the joint task force study was nearing completion, the Japanese working group suggested adding a discussion of how the roles of engineering schools and universities in Japan and the United States might change in the future. Significant changes could result from shifts in the engineering environment, such as the globalization of engineering activity discussed in Chapter 6, and the potential for new approaches to education enabled by information technology. This chapter is meant to extend and supplement the discussion of undergraduate and graduate engineering education contained in Chapter 4, and the discussion of continuing education in Chapter 5. Although a comprehensive examination of these issues in either the United States or Japan is beyond the scope of the study, the joint task force hopes to stimulate discussion among engineers and engineering educators on the future university. CHALLENGES FOR U.S. AND JAPANESE ENGINEERING SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES A recent article in the journal Issues in Science and Technology puts forward a vision for a future U.S.-based “Global University” appropriate to a world in which business and engineering activities are global and continuous, with U.S. citizens making up a smaller proportion of the global engineering workforce.1 The model calls for academic institutions to utilize new technologies and branch campuses to better serve the needs of industry, especially in engineering fields. In order to facilitate this change, new international approaches to standards and accreditation would allow an expansion of cooperative degree programs between universities, and the creation of new educational programs tailored to the needs of individual students and their ultimate employers. Each university would emphasize its core strengths in pursuing this vision and could “franchise” their programs to commercial service providers or other universities. Some U.S. institutions are already moving rapidly in this direction, as will be discussed below.
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives This particular vision of the “Global University” has stimulated discussion and debate in the U.S. engineering community, and abroad. To many members of the U.S. community, including several U.S. members of the task force, the vision correctly identifies some important tasks for engineering education in the coming years. However, the U.S. members believe that the vision takes too narrow a view of the university's role in general and engineering education in particular. Even in a world characterized by global business, universities will be expected to advance knowledge and to deliver education that enhances personal development as well as to prepare students for careers. Even in engineering, which can be seen as being more career-oriented than other parts of the university, education must impart knowledge that goes beyond the short-term needs of industry. For example, Chapter 6 covers the language and cultural knowledge required for global engineering, much of which draws on the liberal arts and social sciences. In a broader sense, engineers will need to be attuned to a wide variety of issues in the future, including the integration of ethical-humanistic issues into their work.2 In addition, laying the groundwork for lifelong technical currency that serves the long-term interests of industry as well as the individual engineering student will require exposure to scientific advances outside of the typical engineering school, most notably in biology and in newly emerging fields. In short, reorganization of the university that facilitates closer connections between engineering schools (and other professional schools) and their major “customers” should not occur at the expense of needed integration.3 The implications of the Condit-Pipes “Global University” vision are somewhat different for Japan. Most of the Japanese task force members find the vision very attractive and even compelling for Japan. The Japanese members believe that Japanese engineering schools and universities in general need to become much more responsive to the needs of employers and individual students. Promoting the utilization of information technology (distance learning in particular) and more flexible institutional approaches would allow movement beyond today's “just in case” educational paradigms in which learning is concentrated in degree programs in the hope that it will be useful.4 Already, “just in time” learning approaches are emerging, with education provided when and where it is required. In the future, customized “just for you” educational services will be developed to meet the needs of individuals. Japan faces significant barriers to implementing new educational approaches. For example, the strong role of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture (Monbusho) in funding, setting curriculum, and certifying universities leads to greater uniformity in approaches across Japanese universities. The Japanese members believe that the problems such as excessive uniformity and large class sizes are more acute at private universities.5 In addition, the emphasis in Japanese society on the university's credentialing role, as seen in the importance of the university entrance examination and the hiring practices of companies, means that students are less motivated to develop clear targets for university study. The Japanese group believes that university curricula should be more flexible and responsive to societal needs, and that students should be provided with more intensive guidance in these early university years to choose appropriate subjects. Since no one university can be expected to contain all of what is required in the future, the Japanese members believe that expanded exchanges among schools utilizing distance learning will be necessary.
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives EXAMPLES OF JAPANESE APPROACHES Tokyo Denki University. Tokyo Denki University, a private engineering university, is undertaking several initiatives aimed at adapting its educational offerings to the changing needs of students and the larger society. One example is a small-scale engineering college within the university that is now in the planning stages. The focus will be on providing a combination of “just in time education” and “just for you education” as discussed above. One tool that the new college is introducing is designed to raise the consciousness of university students. Students will be required to take an introductory curriculum planning course to develop subjective goals and a learning plan for their four years of university study. This planning is based on a review of materials provided by the departments. The plan is discussed with peers and faculty members. Since students will naturally develop new interests and goals as they progress through their undergraduate years, the plan would be periodically revised. This exercise would encourage students to think more carefully about their education and take greater individual responsibility. Freshmen and sophomores in the new engineering college will be able to choose classes from the basic curriculum according to their ability, and in addition take liberal arts and foreign language classes. Laboratory classes are included in the lecture series, with some lab experiments developed in cooperation with industry. This is fairly unusual for freshman and sophomore engineering students in Japan. New, interdisciplinary classes are also being developed for the new college. Grading will be done according to standardized criteria. Japan-Indonesia Science and Technology Forum Shibaura Institute of Technology organized a distance education experiment between Japan and Malaysia in cooperation with Tokyo Denki University and Takushoku University. A test was conducted recently in which 40 Malaysian students located in a studio in Malaysia received classes originating in Japan (but also aimed at Malaysian students) over an ISDN network. Lectures concerned mathematics and Japanese language. The technology allows two-way communication between sites. The results of the experiment are now being evaluated. University of the Air The University of the Air was established in 1981 as a means of providing continuing education opportunities to adults. The University of the Air is located in Chiba Prefecture and its broadcasting area covers Tokyo and its suburbs. Six affiliated learning centers are spread through the area. Additional videotape learning centers are located in 36 of Japan's prefectures. Since January 1998, the university's class broadcasts are carried on a nationwide digital television channel by communication satellite. Most of the 67,000 students (as of 1998) receive lectures by television and radio at home. Over 300 undergraduate liberal arts classes are provided. University of the Air does not conduct an entrance examination, and awards a bachelor of arts degree.
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives Hokkaido Information University Hokkaido Information University, a private school, established a correspondence course in 1994 in its undergraduate faculty of management information. The corporation which operates HIU, Denshi Kaihatsu Gakuen (EDC), also manages 10 technical schools for information engineering located throughout Japan. The technical schools have two to four year courses of study. EDC has also developed PINE-NET, a distance learning system allowing two-way communication by satellite and video conference system. The HIU correspondence course is carried on PINE-NET. Students can enroll in both HIU and one of the technical schools, and are able to earn a baccalaureate and a specialist degree. Tokyo Institute of Technology Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed ANDES (Academic Network for Distance Education by Satellite), which is aimed at delivering Institute courses to companies. ANDES has been in operation since 1996. Company employees earn a certificate of attendance from the school. Interactions between students and faculty are facilitated by fax and email. The Institute also undertakes a lecture exchange with Hitotsubashi University, a university located in Tokyo that is strong in economics and the social sciences. The exchange is supported by satellite communication links between the campuses. About 600 students per year enroll in the joint course. Space Collaboration System The Space Collaboration System (SCS) is comprised of a Japanese University Network and a Medical Schools Network linked by communications satellite. The university network includes 74 national universities (122 VSAT stations), 14 technical colleges, 10 national research centers, and 10 private universities (11 VSAT stations). The network supports point to point and multi point communication, and is managed by the National Institute for Multimedia Education. About one-third of the usage is for teaching, another one-third for lectures, and the remainder for meetings and other purposes. The Japanese Medical Schools Network linking university hospitals utilizes satellite high definition television (HDTV). Image exchange among medical schools is facilitated, including medical procedures, X-ray and CT images, and surgical data. This network can be expected to promote the growth of telemedicine. EXAMPLES OF U.S. APPROACHES6 Polytechnic University. International students are able to earn a Master of Science degree from Polytechnic University in New York by combining study in a cooperating university and on-line distance learning courses offered by Polytechnic with a specially organized program at the University in New York. 7 Up to one third of the required courses may be transfered from the cooperating university, with another third taken on-line through highly interactive, asynchronous internet
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives based courses. The degree is completed in residence at Polytechnic University in a focused program which includes advanced coursework, supervised research, and experiences in business and industry. National Technological University National Technological University (NTU) is a private, accredited, nonprofit institution founded in 1984, and a pioneer in satellite delivery of advanced technical education.8 NTU offers both academic credit courses and non-credit short courses, provided by 48 member universities. NTU's programs are targeted at technical professionals. As this is written, over 1,300 courses are available through NTU's participating universities, providing 14 Master's of Science Degree programs. NTU awarded 160 M.S. degrees in 1997. In order to enroll in NTU courses, students must be employed by an organization or university which is a member of the NTU Satellite Network. In some cases, non-members may take classes at community sites. There are over 900 participating NTU sites across North America. Stanford University The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) offers graduate level programs to technology professionals.9 During the past 30 years, over 3,000 graduate degrees have been earned through SCPD programs. Stanford is one of the largest single university providers of distance education in engineering, and science and technology management. SCPD plays a leading role in serving the continuing education needs of industry, and is often credited as a significant contributor to the growth of Silicon Valley. SCPD provides a number of different educational opportunities to pursue graduate degrees, complete certificate programs, earn course credit, and audit classes. Courses are delivered directly to the workplace via television broadcast, videotape and the internet. Other outreach mechanisms include workshops, seminars, executive education conferences, and custom-designed courses, both on and off campus. The four core components of the SCPD are Stanford Instructional Television Network (SITN), Multimedia/Video Production, Stanford Online (internet-accessed courses), and Professional Education (executive training). Stanford University offers a complete engineering master's degree program entirely online. The technologies involved in offering the online program, through SCPD, includes audio/video streaming with synchronized slide shows, electronic distribution of class materials, synchronous and asynchronous interaction among the students and instructors, and in some cases the electronic posting of homework and exams. Individuals will also have the option to participate as nonmatriculating students on a course-by-course basis for credit or audit, rather than applying for admission to the master's program. Massachusetts Institute of Technology The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has created the Center for Advanced Educational Services (CAES) in order to expand access to MIT's educational offerings through
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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives utilization of advanced technology.10 Through the efforts of CAES and other initiatives, MIT hopes to enhance its leadership role in education, both nationally and internationally. CAES offers a number of short term (non-degree) programs. Longstanding on-campus programs include the Advanced Study Program (now in its 33rd year) and the Professional Institute (in its 46th year), aimed at working professionals. These programs are now offered off-campus as well. CAES is focused on expanding off-campus programs through multi-modal distance learning. For example, CAES produces live satellite broadcast courses that are carried by PBS The Business Channel, and are aimed at professional engineers, scientists, and managers. The classes are broadcast once a week for eight weeks, with interaction facilitated by a web site. A certificate of completion is awarded. In addition to satellite broadcasts, a variety of non-credit and for credit courses are available with a range of participation options. Most courses are multi-modal, employing both asynchronous and synchronous learning modes. CAES also offers products for reference or self study, and media and communication services to the MIT community. In addition, CAES is home to several independent research groups aiming at advancing the use of information technology in academia. Another indicator of MIT's growing global role is an agreement reached in 1997 with the Ehsan Foundation in Malaysia to help create the Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST), scheduled to open early in the next decade.11 MIT will receive $25 million for its help under the agreement. The MUST project is similar to programs already under way in Thailand and Argentina. The goal is to create an elite private teaching and research university in the state of Selangor Darul Ehsan. Initially, the university will cater to the brightest Malaysian graduate students, with an undergraduate engineering program to be developed later. In creating the university, MIT will provide expertise in four areas: academic program; research agenda; institutional development, focusing on administration, organization management and financing; and forming partnerships with government and industry. Graduate opportunities for Malaysian students at MIT will also be promoted. NOTES AND REFERENCES 1 Philip Condit and R. Byron Pipes, “The Global University,” Issues in Science and Technology, Fall 1997. 2 George Bugliarello, “Comments on ‘The Global University,’” unpublished, October 1997. 3 Ibid. 4 James Duderstadt, “Letter on the future of the university,” Issues in Science and Technology, Winter 1997–98. 5 As noted in Chapter 4, Monbusho regulates and authorizes private universities, and provides funding, but financial support is not as generous as that provided to national universities. 6 This set of examples is illustrative of U.S. approaches and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of U.S. initiatives in this area. 7 Polytechnic University materials. 8 See the NTU World Wide Web page at http://www.ntu.edu. 9 See the SCPD World Wide Web page at http://scpd.stanford.edu. 10 See the CAES World Wide Web page at http://caes.mit.edu. 11 See MIT press release at web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/1997/43450.html.