. It is well
known that existing software technologies demand about 100 hours of
preparation for 1 hour of teaching. This makes web-based teaching very
tedious and expensive because 4,500 hours are needed to prepare a
one-semester course (typically 45 hours of class teaching). Software
tools would be free and accessible through the Internet.
There are numerous factors that make web-based education at SUNY-SB not only
very appealing but also extremely rewarding:
- Web-based education would be accessible to a very high number of
undergraduate and graduate students. SUNY-SB is currently experiencing a
continuously increasing student population majoring in computer or
electrical engineering. Nevertheless, number of faculty is growing at a
- Web-based education would facilitate flexible education. Students would
be able to take any course-any time. Currently, highly demanded courses i.e.
Digital System Design (ESE 318) are taught each semester. This unnecessarily
increases the teaching load of faculty and limits their possibility to
introduce new courses.
- Web-based education would enhance group communication, collaboration and
cooperation. These elements are critical for the project-centered nature of
computer and electrical engineering courses, which involve small/medium size
groups of students working at the same project.
- Web-based education would permit distance learning, which fits extremely
well the commuting student population at SUNY-SB. Many undergraduate students
commute daily from New York City. As a result, precious time is spent on
commuting, which otherwise could be spent for education.
- Web-based education would be very appealing for the many small/medium
size companies that reside on Long Island. Such a system would make course
offering more accessible for them.
- In the future, Web-based education could serve as a main link with other
forms of education such as high schools or community colleges. SUNY-SB has a
long tradition in the high school mentoring program. Nevertheless,
interaction among students and faculty is sometimes difficult due to heavy
working loads. A web-based learning system would help not only in relaxing
this interaction but also in making the mentoring program more popular.
- Besides the actual web-based learning process, a network of Sun
workstations could be used to conduct laboratory work that involves highly
computational tasks i.e. analog and mixed-signal circuit simulations,
device simulations, optimizations for circuit/system synthesis etc.
Finally, disciplines such as Real-Time Operating Systems (ESE 333) could
also beneficiate from a SUN network.
At this point, we envision a strategy that progressively introduces
new web-based courses. Our first step would be to develop and implement a
set of highly competitive courses in the area of
VLSI systems design.
This is a new instruction/research area in our department and is extremely
appealing to our students. Our next steps would address other domains such
as Computer Networks, Computer Architectures, Communications and Signal
Processing, Real-Time Systems, Embedded Systems etc.
Many of the courses would be developed using the JAVA and ShowMeTV technology
developed by SUN. Software tools developed in situ would reduce the amount of
work involved in preparing class material. The teaching material would be
stored on a server and updated constantly to maintain top quality teaching.
Teaching would be done via workstations where every student could attend
lectures through ShowMeTV, interact with the Java based whiteboard, and use
software package running simultaneously on multiple workstations. Moreover,
students would be able to develop software, design VLSI circuits, simulate
complex signal processing systems etc while beneficiating from a powerful
help facility with multi-media features. With the advent of a web-based
teaching environment, each faculty would offer more courses so that students
could benefit from a broader education.