February 06, 2003 —
The University of Southern California School of Engineering's Distance Education
Network continued its record of strong growth in the Spring 2003 semester, with
more than 800 enrollments recorded, most by employees in technology and aerospace
"We have seen a 27 percent increase in enrollments over the past year," said
DEN Executive Director Kelly Goulis. The growth promises to accelerate in coming
semesters, she added, as pending improvements to the Internet-based program come
Through DEN, students can earn master of science degrees in 13 engineering specialties
without setting foot on USC's campus. In 2002, 99 DEN students earned M.S. degrees
To be admitted to candidacy for degrees, DEN students must meet the same requirements
as on-campus graduate students in the USC School of Engineering, ranked eighth
among graduate engineering schools in the 2002 U.S. News & World Report evaluations.
DEN will launch six more degree programs in 2003, including specializations in
cybersecurity and engineering management.
"We expect that when these degrees are added, USC will become the largest provider
of online graduate engineering degrees in the country," Goulis said.
Most DEN students currently are employees of major technology corporations, which
pay all or part of their tuition. Participating companies include: Aerojet, Aerospace
Corp., Boeing, Ericsson, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Intel, JPL, Lockheed Martin,
Motorola, NASA, Northrop Grumman (including the former TRW corporation), Qualcomm,
Raytheon, SAIC and United Technologies Corp.
Infrastructure is now in place to accommodate independent students, without corporate
affiliations, with the first already admitted. "We are marketing the availability
of this program, and we expect major growth in this area in 2003," said Goulis.
A 2003 grant from the Lord Foundation is now funding efforts to improve DEN e-learning
technology, using the expertise of USC’s Information Sciences Institute, an internationally
known research center for the creation of computer systems, and USC’s Integrated
Media Systems Center, the National Science Foundation's exclusive center for Internet
and multimedia research.
Plans call for integrating immersive audio, automated assessment tools and intelligent
agent technology into the DEN interface to encourage more interactive and participatory
learning by DEN students.
ISI Executive Director Herbert Schorr, who also serves as associate dean of the
School of Engineering, said that USC's interface is already one of the most advanced
in the distance learning community.
"DEN is negotiating with other programs about licensing the package that we have
developed," said Schorr.
"Distance learning is a reality, not a dream at USC Engineering," said Dean C.L.
"We have used our strengths and experience to create a program that has attracted
international recognition, said Nikias. “DEN is part of our plan to take USC Engineering
to the next level of excellence, and so far it is performing far above expectations."