(523d) Use of Distance Learning Tools as Part of a Long Distance Non-Traditional Industrial PhD | AIChE

(523d) Use of Distance Learning Tools as Part of a Long Distance Non-Traditional Industrial PhD

Distance learning tools have gained increasing popularity in graduate engineering education. At many universities, students can earn coursework only Master of Engineering degrees without ever visiting campus. Traditionally though, these tools have been limited to the masters and undergraduate level. For students seeking a research based doctorate in one of the engineering disciplines, the traditional path, including a residency requirement has remained the only option. However, through the use of distance education tools, this traditional path does not have to be the only one.

This contribution will describe a unique, non-traditional approach taken by the Auburn University Department of Chemical Engineering to allow a student to utilize distance education tools to pursue a traditional PhD in a very non-traditional way. By utilizing video based coursework, and long distance collaboration tools, the student has been able to complete all the requirements for a doctorate, while only spending a minimal amount of time on campus, and continuing to maintain a career in industry.

This contribution will address the challenges of implementing a long distance, collaborative research project between industry and academia as part of an industrial Ph.D. dissertation. The research project is a collaboration between Evonik Degussa, Auburn University and the University of South Alabama. This work will outline the challenges of integrating all the groups into a cohesive project team and will address how the research group is structured, the challenges of organizing team members across multiple universities and industry groups in the United States and Germany and how the research is incorporated into a non-traditional, industrial Ph.D. dissertation for a distance education graduate student at Auburn University.