A Remote Mode Master Degree Program in Sustainable Energy Engineering: Student Perception and Future Direction
Remote mode higher education at postgraduate level is becoming popular among students because of flexible learning opportunity and the accessibility to study programs offered by renowned universities in the world. Fast development of internet facilities and learner management systems along with the development of remote educational pedagogy have been the driving force behind the acceptance and development of distant mode study programs. The success of such a study programs is largely affected by several factors that are unique to the university that offers the study program and the demography of participants as well as infrastructure and the student support available at the receiving end.
In the present study, the successes and the drawbacks as perceived by the participants of a distant master study program are evaluated. The study program considered was the Sustainable Energy Engineering Worldwide (SEEW) master degree program which was offered by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden to students in Sri Lanka (Apart from Sri Lanka, SEEW was offered by KTH to some other countries; Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mauritius). The objective of offering the SEEW master program was to assist the developing nations to build up human resources with expertise in sustainable energy generation and utilization, hence contributing to national development. As such the program also generally contributes to global efforts of alleviating unfavourable environmental impacts connected with power generation and utilization. The SEEW master program consisted of 120 ECTS (ECTS: European Credit Transfer System) and the courses were offered over three semesters followed by a research project of 30 ECTS during the fourth semester. Lectures were delivered synchronous with the parallel KTH on-campus study program in real time through internet with the support of a learner management system. The students were attached to the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) for providing academic support where necessary and for the supervision of written and online examinations. The first enrolment consisted of 21 students in intake 2008 and the program was conducted with varying student numbers until the intake 2010. A total of 72 students have successfully completed the SEEW program and they are at presently employed in key organizations in the energy sector as well as in national universities in Sri Lanka.
The paper focusses on eight key areas that the students have identified as vital for success for this type of programs. These key areas are the effectiveness of web tools used, standard of teaching, standard of course content, examination procedures, online assessment, thesis projects, benefit to the students, and benefits to facilitating university. In the study 36 students responded to survey and overall rating of the program successfulness was identified as 72%.
KeywordsDistant mode education Sustainable energy engineering Master degree KTH OUSL
Sustainable Energy Engineering
Sustainable Energy Engineering Worldwide
European Credit Transfer System
Royal Institute of Technology
The Open University of Sri Lanka
The authors express their sincere gratitude to all past students who responded to survey. Also extend gratitude to all staff involved from Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden and Open University of Sri Lanka. The authors also express their gratitude all other persons behind to offering this program into Sri Lanka, and to InnoEnergy for the financially support to present the paper.
- 2.Phipps, R.A., Wellman, J.V., Merisotis, J.P.: Assuring Quality in Distance Learning: A Preliminary Review. Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Washington DC (1998)Google Scholar
- 5.Abeyweera, R., Senanayake, N.S., Senaratne, C., Jayasuriya, J., Fransson, T.H.: Capacity building through a web based master degree programme in sustainable energy engineering. In: IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Athens, Greece (2017)Google Scholar