March 21, 2013
COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, firstname.lastname@example.org
WTAMU’s Engineering Program to Offer Online Courses
CANYON, Texas—West Texas A&M University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science is taking advantage of today’s technology to be one of the first universities anywhere to offer two online courses required for every engineering degree.
“We receive emails and phone calls all the time asking if we are offering online classes,” Dr. Emily Hunt, interim director of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, said. “We don’t want to miss the opportunity to be on the leading edge, and technology gives us the chance to do it.”
Beginning in the fall, the school will offer ENGR 2301—Engineering Statics and ENGR 2302—Engineering Dynamics. The statics course looks at bodies in equilibrium, and the dynamics course examines the theory and principles of rigid body kinematics. The courses are the first true problem-solving classes in an engineering degree program. Only five universities nationwide offer online engineering courses, but none of the schools offer these two courses online. The classes will be taught by Hunt, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Matt Jackson, assistant professor of engineering and Bell Helicopter Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
“These classes are very hands on—the content is something the student needs to see to understand,” Hunt said. “We now have the technology that allows the student to actually see what is being taught to help them be successful. Plus, students are busy—they work, have families—so online classes help them, and it improves our chances of getting them into our degree program.”
The two classes will serve as a pilot program for additional online engineering classes in the future. Dr. Freddie Davis, associate professor of engineering and former department head, taught the classes and encouraged the faculty to offer the two classes online. Enrollment will be limited. Hunt said the classes will be small to maintain what makes the WTAMU engineering program unique. Face-to-face classes in the two courses will continue to be offered on campus.
WTAMU’s School of Engineering and Computer Science is a relatively young program. The University launched its engineering program in 2003 with mechanical engineering. It was expanded in 2010 with the addition of civil engineering and the growth continued last fall with the inclusion of environmental engineering to the degree offerings. In September 2012, the department was renamed to the School of Engineering and Computer Science, a new designation approved by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The program, created in direct response to community need, provides greater opportunities for the area’s brightest students and benefits economic development by attracting new industry to the area. The program is a strong one and very competitive on the national scale. The mechanical engineering program has been ABET accredited since 2006. Employment of WTAMU engineering graduates stands at 100 percent.
For more information about the online classes, contact Hunt at 806-651-5330.