Southampton University has launched a master's degree course in information engineering by email. It is for employees of the computer giant IBM.
Most of the modular programme comprises material delivered over the Internet. Each module features four days of face-to-face teaching backed up by distance learning using the World Wide Web. Tutorials will be held on the Internet and students will communicate with course tutors by email. Course modules include neural networks, interactive entertainment, parallel computer architectures and the social impact of the information revolution.
The programme will be managed by the university's management school in collaboration with several other departments. David Barron of the electronics and computer science department, one of the project partners, says students will choose 12 modules from the 15 offered. Each module will allow for 45 hours of directed reading and 20 hours of assessed coursework.
Instruction will also be given in areas such as conventional classroom teaching, computer-based learning and remote tutorials.
Online resources include copies of transparencies used in lectures, notes expanding on the transparencies and material to prompt "forum" discussions after the lectures. Entry requirements are a first degree in an appropriate subject or professional experience.