Distance Learning

MIT Taps Private Partners for Online Systems Engineering Program

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will collaborate with Boeing and the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) to launch a new online four-course program in architecture and systems engineering. The program will be conducted by MIT's Professional Education division via the edX platform, using the real-world lessons and case studies of Boeing and NASA professionals.

Students in the four courses will cover the latest practices in model-based systems engineering, including, for instance, how models can enhance system engineering functions and how systems engineering tasks can be enhanced with quantitative analysis.

At the end of each course, titled "Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods To Manage Complex Systems," students will receive continuing education units and those who complete all four courses will receive a professional certificate from MIT.

The courses are scheduled to launch this summer.

Bruce Cameron, director of the System Architecture Lab at MIT, said the hope is that the program will ensure that the current engineering workforce has the necessary training and access to up-to-date information to design and develop products in a rapidly changing environment.

"Engineering practice is changing rapidly in tandem with the growth of software," Cameron said, "driving incredible capability changes, but also causing enormous challenges managing complex development programs."

He said the program will frame system architecture as a series of decisions that can be actively sorted and managed.

The online program is the first initiative following the signing of a Space Act Agreement between Boeing and NASA last year to support education of a capable technology workforce.

"This represents NASA's initial steps in the realization of a digital transformation of learning and workforce development," said Charlie Camarda, a space shuttle astronaut and senior advisor for engineering development at NASA's Langley Research Center.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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