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1 Developing Systems Engineering Education At the University of South Australia ( with a few words about what I know of the UK scene ) Prof Stephen Cook,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Developing Systems Engineering Education At the University of South Australia ( with a few words about what I know of the UK scene ) Prof Stephen Cook,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Developing Systems Engineering Education At the University of South Australia ( with a few words about what I know of the UK scene ) Prof Stephen Cook, PhD Systems Engineering and Evaluation Centre (SEEC) University of South Australia

2 2 Outline The Australian educational scene About UniSA The Australian education system Economic environment Shape of postgraduate education in Australia Strategies to revive postgraduate coursework The new MEng (SE) at UniSA The UK scene Summary

3 3 The Australian Educational Scene Mass university education (30%) Undergraduate education seen as desirable Australia has modest R&D base hence modest demand for postgraduate qualifications Postgraduate qualifications make little difference to income potential Management postgraduate qualifications (MBA) generally better regarded than technical ones Exception is government research laboratories where a PhD is mandatory to rise to senior positions Geographic considerations - dont get many people from the next town

4 4 Geographically Isolated Population Concentrations University of SA

5 5 Geographically Isolated Population Concentrations University of SA

6 6 Australia Geographically Redefined for INCOSE 2001

7 7 About UniSA Formed in 1990 from the merger of the SA Institute of technology and the SA College of Advanced Education One of three universities in Adelaide As large as the other two together ~ 25,000 students Public university - (all but one are in Australia). Only one active in Systems Engineering Focussed on –educating professionals –working with industry –serving the community Growing from teaching university background to a research university - postgraduates 15% of load

8 8 The Australian Undergraduate Educational System Follows the Scottish model –Many degrees, BA, BSc, etc are three years most students leave university at this level –Only selected students with better than Credit average are permitted to study for an extra year to gain honours, BSc(hons), etc Engineering is a minimum four year degree and honours comprises additional workload in final year for selected students Government employers keen on honours, industry ambivalent Engineering course accredited by the Institution of Engineers, Australia (similar to UK)

9 9 The Australian Postgraduate Educational System Grad Cert (6 months coursework), GradDip (12 months) Masters degrees come in two types: –Coursework with 20-66% research component ~1.5 years –Research-only 2 years –Entry to masters: 4-year degree (usually at honours level); PhDs in Australia follow the European tradition –Traditionally comprise no coursework: facilitates distance enrolments –Nominally 3 years, average 4.5 years Low number of eligible PhD students –Direct entry to PhD only allowed for first class or upper division second class honours or masters graduates –This translates to very low number of eligible students (cf say England where maybe 30+% would qualify)

10 10 Economic Environment Undergraduate education is largely government funded No up-front fees for students but they do incur a Higher Education Contribution Scheme debt of around $5000 per year, plus interest HECS debt paid off through the tax system when graduate starts work (2% pa) Postgraduate coursework attracts full fees ($15 - $20k) Research-only degrees attract no fees and HECS scholarships are the norm High achievers can also win living allowance scholarships for research degrees ($16-21k tax free) Funding for higher education has been slashed and continues to decline; 25% staff losses in last few years

11 11 The Shape of p/g Technical Education Small postgraduate numbers in the technical areas Recent introduction of full fees for postgraduate coursework has killed demand Alternative funding mechanisms for c/w p/g have yet to emerge Research-only nature of PhDs prevents dual-use of postgraduate coursework Traditional coursework higher degrees financially unsustainable - many terminated Research degrees becoming predominant

12 12 On a More Positive Note Australian Department of Defence has stated that it aims to have senior officers educated to masters level Still some demand for coursework degrees: particularly in industry where research degrees are not seen as relevant Larger companies and government are prepared to sponsor selected students

13 13 Strategies to Revive p/g Coursework Qualifications Articulate: GradCert, GradDip, MEng Require research students to undertake postgraduate coursework to enlarge classes Dual-use of subjects between introductory p/g and 4th year/honours u/g Dual-use between public short courses and p/g assessed subjects Look for overseas fee-paying students Look for external sponsorship Distance delivery to save cost and increase student demand Block mode delivery

14 14 The Challenge: Introduce New SE MEng (c/w) Principle issues: –economic justification

15 15 UniSA SEEC Approach Use successful formula from MEng (T&E) Delivery –Block mode for introductory and expert subjects –Distance delivery for many (web based) Block-mode subjects double as public short courses Buy-in subjects/lecturers where appropriate to avoid preparation costs Consider postgraduate coursework generation and delivery to be a labour of love Treat p/g coursework as marketing for consulting/research contracts and research degrees and hence fund from project profits Replace u/g management subjects with SE subjects

16 16 Outcome New SE MEng Coursework degree starts 2001 along with revamped MEng T&E Standard Australian Formula –MEng: 48 points; 8 large subjects plus minor thesis (25%) –GradCert: 18 points, GradDip: 36 points Small number of core subjects many electives –suits our small market where students come from government R&D labs, defence and civil industries Electives can also come from other masters degrees, eg software engineering, mathematics, computer systems engineering

17 17 Syllabus Group A (mandatory core subjects) –Principles of Systems Engineering –Systems Engineering Management –Systems Engineering Analysis 1 –Systems Engineering Practice 1 Group B (electives) –Research Methods in Engineering –Principles of Test and Evaluation –Management of Small Systems Engineering Design Teams –Advanced Test and Evaluation –Modelling and Simulation for Systems Engineering –Systems Engineering for Mobile Communications –Requirements Engineering –Systems Engineering Practice 2 –Systems Engineering Analysis 2 –Soft Systems Methodology

18 18 Summary of UniSA Experiences Research degree enrolments are good –18-21 mostly part-time Interest in new MEng (SE) is good –8-10 c/w students currently in T&E but some want to transfer to SE –industry and government interest Cost neutral as supported by SEEC Research Centre selling as short-course offerings Conclusion: It can be done but its hard work Thanks to colleagues who are making it happen: Dr David Cropley, Mr Michael Harris, Dr (Prof) Peter Sydenham, Dr (A/Prof) Joe Kasser

19 19 My Understanding of the UK Scene Unlike Australia, most of the action is in the coursework area: MSc - one calendar year Pretty much the same as Australian MEng described earlier Strong external support Major players in Systems Engineering courses –University College London - MOD –Royal Military College of Science Scrivenham DERA/MOD –Cranfield University - BAE SYSTEMS –Loughborough University of Technology - BAE SYSTEMS?

20 20 Summary SE postgraduate offerings are shaped by –government funding policies –demand base –university priorities At UniSA research is strong and receives external funding: coursework is getting off the ground At RMIT coursework is strong: fuelled by overseas demand Research elsewhere also, eg UTS In UK, SE coursework is strong and receives strong external funding/guaranteed places

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