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The Michigan State University M.Sc. and Ph.D. Online Degree Programs in Beam Physics


We summarize the main features of the Michigan State University M.Sc. and Ph.D. on-line degree programs in Beam Physics. We started offering Internet-based Beam Physics courses in the spring semester of 1997. Since then we extended our Web courses from the introductory graduate level Beam Physics to more advanced Beam Physics courses to a total of now three on-line courses plus various reading courses.

Starting with 1998 the Master of Science, and beginning with 1999, the doctoral on-line programs have been officially launched. The programs are part of Michigan State Universityís Virtual University, and are featured in the Sloan-C Catalog of on-line programs as well as in Petersonís Guide as the only on-line physics degree programs in the USA. In this paper we will emphasize the growth of the program and lessons learned, and we will support our conclusions with statistical data.

A major milestone of the program is the development of the WebCOSY system, an interactive Web-based homework and course management program. Besides supporting problems written within the system, it has the unique feature of processing and grading studentís submissions by arbitrary external programs, and hence provides rather far-reaching flexibility for the assignment of homework problems. The system supports and manages databases for classes, students, scores, graders, as well as homework problems for re-use in other classes. Written entirely in Perl, the system is easily manageable and portable.

B. Erdelyi, J. Hoefkens, L. Diening, K. Makino, M. Berz, Quarterly Review of Distance Education 1(4) (2000) 345-350


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