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Online Learning: Anytime, Anywhere

Most of our students are already busy professionals; our program is designed for them.  Busy professionals face time and location constraints.  In order to better support these working professionals, we are making our software engineering masters degree programs, and all of the courses in these programs, available via online learning,  thus accomodating the needs of professionals to learn at varying times and at varying locations.


 

Online Learning Approach

We use Asynchronous Learning Nets (ALNs; c.f. http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln_main ). This is an established technique used at another of other reputable univesities for undergrduate and graduate education.  The "nets" in ALNs are networks of learners, not networks of computers.  We use computer networks (especially the Internet) to support our networks of learners. This approach is student-centered, rather than faculty-centered.


With ALNs you receive instructions (via the web or via email), you do some study independently, and then you verify, refine, practice, and extend the material you have studied by interacting (via email and the web) with other students in the course.  These interactions are frequent, substantial, and asynchronous (but within time windows).  You are in touch with the professor and the other students via email and web postings.  You provide and receive help via these media.  For some courses, other media may be used as well.

In the real world, software developers frequently do a lot of work on their own, and also interact with others frequently and substantially, so ALN's seem to be a good fit for software engineering education. The fact that most of our interactions are asynchronous enables you to work at times that are convenient for you.

Is online learning for me?

Online learning requires some degree of self-starting initiative.  You must be able to get started and study on your own.  You must also be ready, willing, and able to interact with others to complete assignments and to offer and receive help.  These skills are needed by most modern software engineers anyway, but if you don't want to do these things, then online learning is probably not for you.
 
 

What tools and capabilities do I need in order to take software engineering courses (via DL or with traditional classroom instruction)?

As with all students in our software engineering courses (both online learners and students who attend traditional classes), you will need both internet capabilities and tools, and software development capabilities and tools.


 

 internet tools and capabilities

software tools and capabilities


 
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Accreditation: Mercer University is accredited by SACSCOC.