Description: Continuing education is a critical issue in the workplace. Rapid change, the emergence of new technology, and the lack of trained individuals make continuing education an imperative for employers. The desire for individual growth and marketability make it an imperative for the employee also. While there are many options for continuing education, an increasingly popular vehicle is the short course. Time, cost efficiency and instruction by those experienced in real industrial practice are key factors in the success of this educational format. Over the past couple of decades, short course offerings and the number and type of sponsoring organizations have grown significantly. Within the scientific community, courses in basic disciplines (e.g., materials characterization), emergent technologies (e.g., Micro-Electro- Mechanical Systems), equipment operation (e.g., electron microscopes) and even business practices (e.g., ES&H, proposal writing) have emerged and are taught by universities, technical societies and equipment manufacturers. Short course offerings and formats are evolving. Presently, it is possible to find series of courses which define specific curricula. These curricula set the stage for new developments in the future, including increased certification and licensing (e.g., technologists). Along with such certifications will come the need for accreditation. Who will offer such programs, and especially, who will accredit them are significant questions. Perhaps the most dramatic changes will occur with the integration of advanced information technology. While satellite-based remote offerings are available, the use of the web for educating a dispersed group is just beginning to emerge. In its simplest forms, this offers little advantage over a video or a real-time satellite course, but the eventual emergence of tele-operation of experimental equipment will revolutionize remote teaching.
Date: February 2, 1999
Creator: McWhorter, P.J. & Romig, A.D.
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