Engineers around the world benefit from online master’s program
The first cohort of students recently earned their master’s of engineering through an online, custom-designed course at Arizona State University.
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, through the office of Global Outreach and Extended Education, designed the program in conjunction with Intel Corp. to meet the needs of industry and working professionals. As Intel has expanded across the globe, so has the need to provide its employees with a graduate-level education.
The program, which includes courses from across the Fulton Schools’ six different schools, was designed to allow engineers working around the world to earn their graduate degrees while remaining in their home country and working full-time.
“We take pride in the fact that we not only collaborated with Intel in developing these courses, we also offer them together by engaging Intel content experts, who are in tune with this fast paced technology, every time we offer the courses,” said Amaneh Tasooji, an associate research professor in the Fulton Schools. Tasooji works with Intel to identify the real-world applications of the course materials.
Read on to learn about the first graduates’ impressions of the program.
“Best decision ever”
A statistician working for Intel, Amanda Zhang has a background in industrial engineering, but was able to broaden her areas of expertise with this program.
“This program showed me a lot of new things that I’m quite interested in,” said Zhang, who cited classes on materials science and electronics as particularly challenging and interesting.
Based in Shanghai, China, Zhang said the course’s flexibility and ease of access were very valuable to her. “I was able to study and work at the same time,” she added.
Zhang said she’d taken single courses online before, but never an entire degree. Regardless, she found the program to be just as immediate and engaging as an in-person class. For instance, despite being thousands of miles away, Zhang always received timely responses to questions. Studying and interacting with professors and fellow students through video conferencing made it seem like any other class.
Zhang characterized the program as a whole as “fantastic,” and said she would definitely recommend it to her colleagues.
“It was the best decision I ever made to join this program,” said Zhang.
Learning from afar while staying home
Noel M. Kiat, a process and equipment engineer at Intel Products Vietnam, said the best part of the program was learning under ASU’s esteemed industrial engineering faculty, such as Ronald Askin, professor and director of the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, and Dan Shunk, professor of industrial engineering.
“Studying online offers an opportunity to professionals like me to get the best education U.S. universities like ASU can offer without leaving my country,” Kiat said of the convenience of distance learning.
Kiat also praised the flexibility of the online program, which allowed him to control the pace of his studies while balancing his professional commitments simultaneously.
While Kiat said it was challenging to study and work at the same time, he was able to complete the program with the support of Intel, ASU professors and administrators, along with family and friends.
“This will help me in advancing my career as an industrial engineer,” said Kiat. “I am excited about the opportunities this accomplishment will bring in the future.”
Ngoc Duy Tran, an industrial engineer, noted how beneficial it was to pursue a degree in a program tailored to his needs.
“The courses are customized, and related to our work,” said Tran, who works at the Intel Products Vietnam plant, located in Ho Chi Minh City. “I really appreciated the practical application of the program.” He added that one of the most beneficial aspects of the program was the ability to take what he learned in class and apply it to his day-to-day work.
Though this was Tran’s first time taking an online course, he said the classes didn’t feel different from the in-person courses he took for his undergraduate degree at Ho Chi Minh City University.
In some ways, pursuing his master’s online was more beneficial than taking traditional instruction. “I was able to review lectures at any time,” said Tran, which allowed him to revisit the course material and expand his understanding.
For Tran, the most challenging aspect of the program was balancing coursework with his professional responsibilities.
“I have learned how to overcome challenges during studying while maintaining good performance at work,” said Tran.
Overall, Tran thinks the program is beneficial to professional industrial engineers.
“I would recommend this course for those who work in industrial engineering,” said Tran.