ORIE Faculty Members Teach Systems Engineering Locally and at a Distance
The first students to matriculate in the Systems Engineering Distance Degree Program traveled to Ithaca from several locations for a week during the summer to attend an intensive one-week course, Systems Engineering Management for Virtual Teams. The course initiates the new distance degree program, which is the subject of an extensive article in Cornell Engineering Magazine.
|Professor Huseyin Topaloglu, teaching Systems Engineering to local and diistant students, some of whom are shown on the screen behind him.|
The Cornell Engineering Magazine article provides a thorough overview of the program but does not point out that two featured program mainstays, professors Peter Jackson and Huseyin Topaloglu, are ORIE faculty members. Jackson, who has been on the ORIE faculty since 1980, is the director of the Systems Engineering Program at Cornell. For several years the program he runs has offered a Master of Engineering degree on the Cornell campus, and it now offers the new distance degree. Jackson teaches several courses towards both degrees. Topaloglu often teaches Systems Architecture, Behavior and Optimization, which is part of both degree programs.
|Justin Wong, Peter Jackson and Kam Berepiki watch a prototype campus parcel delivery system in action at the design competition. Wong works for Applied Materials in Santa Clara, CA. Berepiki works for Lockheed Martin in the United Kingdom.|
This summer's opening course in the Distance Degree Program combined team-building and other behavioral topics in a 'leadership laboratory' with a significant design challenge. Student teams were assigned to develop a campus-wide parcel delivery service for Cornell, and to implement a room-sized 'mock-up' using PVC pipe, cardboard, and other materials so that their solutions could be demonstrated and performance-tested in a culminating competition. After two semesters of distance learning courses pursued part-time from their work places, these students will return to campus next summer for a course called Creativity and Innovation Within Systems Engineering.
Although the distance learning program is new, use of two-way video for distance learning of systems engineering material is well-established at Cornell. Courses have been offered to remote locations from facilities in Ives Hall for the past 10 years, but until now distance-learning students could earn only certificates. One systems engineering M. Eng. student, U.S. Navy Lt. Matthew Zarracina, has actually attended class via Web-streamed video lectures and interacted with professors and his advisor while working in the Green Zone and elsewhere in Iraq, during a tour of duty there. Zarracina is an ROTC instructor on the Ithaca campus, where he began his systems engineering studies prior to deployment.
In addition to Jackson and Topaloglu, other ORIE faculty members belong to the field of Systems Engineering that offers the Distance Learning and on-campus Master of Engineering degree programs. ORIE Professor Robin Roundy, currently on leave in Colombia, where he is serving as President of the Barranquilla Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints, has participated in Systems Engineering and its distance learning courses from their outset. Professor John A. Muckstadt also lectures in Systems Engineering courses, and the ORIE and Systems Engineering fields share administration and facilities in Rhodes Hall.
Several companies have participated in various aspects of the systems engineering degree programs, including Lockheed Martin, General Motors, and Applied Materials. Jackson has noted that "the strongest interest we've seen for systems engineering is from working professionals." He has worked for several years to organize the Distance Learning Program and gain the necessary approvals from various levels of the university hierarchy as well as New York State, with the opening on-campus week for the first distance learning cohort marking the fruition of these efforts.
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