College expands online offerings

Posted: February 17, 2021

Since the start of the pandemic, the College of Engineering has added seven online programs, including the Master of Engineering Management degree, plus non-credit offerings such as coding and cybersecurity boot camps, and a sustainable engineering program.

Laptop with Engineering spelled out on center row of letter keys.

With these additions, the college now delivers three master’s degrees and 12 certification and short courses that are 100% online. Perfect for working adults, the programs can not only help professionals advance their careers, but can also help students enter a new field.

“The college recognized that there was a need and that we could fulfill it in an online format, because that is what professional engineers and working adults require,” said Professional & Distance Education Programs Director Bob Mick. “These online courses deliver the same quality Ohio State education in a convenient, flexible way that students can access from anywhere.”

Preparing engineers for management roles

Launched last August, the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree is designed for practicing engineers looking to amplify management and leadership skills and learn methods to direct business initiatives, projects and team members.

“I think the MEM is going to be very popular,” Mick said. “We have 50 students already after only two semesters of enrollment.”

Like the college’s online Master of Global Engineering Leader (MGEL) degree, the MEM includes core courses in leadership, financial accounting, project management and technology innovation. Instead of technical tracks offered in the MGEL degree, however, the MEM offers a choice of additional engineering management course electives to further prepare students for management positions. Professionals interested in the public sector, for example, can choose from courses in public agency management, engineering and public policy, and the government-business relationship.

Unlike similar engineering management degrees, the MEM culminates with a unique capstone course that enables students to solve real-world challenges while implementing operational excellence principles for a company or organization. 

“Our professional master's degrees are perfect for engineers who want an advanced education, but do not want to pursue a traditional master's degree with a thesis,” Mick explained. “Having multiple options enables students to customize their degree to match their interests.”

Ohio State alumni can currently apply to any of the university’s online degree programs for free, thanks to the university waiving the $60 application fee.

Building in-demand technical skills

The college recently introduced two 24-week, part-time boot camps in coding and cybersecurity in partnership with global education technology leader 2U. Geared toward students with and without previous college credit, the boot camps include a range of career services to help with career advancement and transitions. Both programs are offered quarterly, and Ohio State faculty review and approve the curriculum and instructors.

More than 100 students have enrolled in the coding boot camp since it was first offered last fall. It teaches the front-end and back-end skills necessary to become a proficient full-stack developer.

Launching March 9, the new cybersecurity boot camp will provide hands-on training in networking, systems, web technologies, databases, and defensive and offensive cybersecurity. 

The college is also exploring the possibility of offering additional boot camps in key interest areas.

“We're trying to build these workforce development programs and help people to get retrained, as well as provide a service to our alumni,” Mick said. 

Ohio State alumni receive a $500 discount on boot camp tuition. Scholarships are also available for historically underrepresented learners who have recently experienced job loss or financial hardship.

Enhancing skillsets

The College of Engineering also offers a variety of online certification programs and short courses taught by Ohio State faculty to enhance professional skills.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Bhavik Bakshi will deliver his Sustainable Engineering program online beginning in May after teaching it at MIT and other universities. It comprises three non-credit courses geared toward practicing engineers.

Other additions include a three-course Certification in Radiological Engineering and Health Physics and the Remote Pilot Exam Prep Training Course, taught by experts from the Center for Aviation Studies, which prepares participants to take the FAA Remote Pilot written test.

The most popular non-credit program is the Certification in Practice of Data Analytics, Mick said, with more than 600 students enrolling since autumn 2017. Teaching the fundamentals of data analytics, it is designed for anyone who wants to acquire the knowledge and skills to manage and use big data. The program offers six courses, including data mining, introduction to machine learning and practical application to advanced analytics, which students can take individually for targeted learning or complete four courses to earn certification.

Headshot of Biljana Temovska

Three courses in, Biljana Temovska said the program already has bolstered her resume. “I just landed a data analytics job with a large Columbus employer,” she explained “I’m so thrilled that I’m able to bring my newly learned skills from this program into a new position and continue to grow in this field."

One silver lining of the pandemic is that it has accelerated the pace at which new certifications and short courses are coming online, something Mick expects to continue.

“We are building as robust of a portfolio of programs as possible,” Mick said. “We want to provide a service to our alumni and others who are looking for additional education and training no matter where they live.”

by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications, 

Categories: CollegeStudents