California Polytechnic State University is commencing an online graduate certificate program in Printed Electronics and Functional Imaging aimed at working professionals. The focus of Cal Poly's certificate program is on product development and production of micon-scale printed electronics, active packaging, and security printing. The program emphasizes mass production processes, using conventional and novel printing approaches, rather than on material development or electrical engineering principles. "While we work directly with EEs and chemists, our focus is on production. We emphasize specifying and developing processes for additive manufacturing using electronic or reactive fluids," Keif clarified. Students will learn fundamental principles of electronics, design engineering, and material science, but will delve deep into morphology, manufacturing principles, measurement and technologies. Dr. Xiaoying Rong, a faculty member in the program adds, "We also have a strong background in product development at Cal Poly. So, we believe we can help with creative approaches to conventional problems."
The program is comprised of five courses: a) an introduction course; b) a materials course; c) a processes course; d) a file creation and imaging course and; e) a product and business development course. With the exception of the introduction course, which last just four weeks, each class is eight weeks in length and is instructor-lead. The certificate can be completed in as little as twelve months. Students can expect a traditional classroom experience with classmates, homework, instructional materials, and due dates...except they can take classes from anywhere in the world they happen to be.
Dr. Malcolm Keif is the coordinator of the program and teaches two of the online courses. Keif stated, "This is really a traditional classroom experience for working adults but using a different delivery model. The goal is to give students a current, meaningful educational experience but with easy accessibility, all while taking advantage of an e-learning environment." Being geared for working professionals, the courses will focus on consistency from week-to-week and course-to-course, so adults can build academic routine into their busy schedules and not encounter surprises. "You will know what to expect, what is due and when, from day one," Keif says.
The first course lasts four weeks and is scheduled to run from January 6, 2014 until January 31, 2014. GrC 501, Survey of Functional Printing, focuses on learning foundational principles, markets, products, production processes, and metrology related to printed electronics, active packaging, and security printing. This course is the prerequisite course for other classes. It will be offered again later in 2014. Once GrC 501 has been completed, students can take other courses, affording them the opportunity to take a term off during a busy period without losing ground. Subsequent courses last eight weeks and generally follow Cal Poly's academic calendar.
Dr. Kenneth Macro, chair of the Graphic Communication Department at Cal Poly thinks the program is ideally suited for working professionals in the field. "We have put a lot of thought and energy into developing a strong academic program that is fairly priced and easily accessible. We are convinced there is a demand for greater knowledge in the field. The online learning environment is ideally suited for the working professional."
As a graduate program, students must possess an undergraduate degree for admission. Yes, there is an admission process, just like applying to graduate school. While the courses commence on January 6, the deadline for applying for the 2014 program is October 1, 2013. "Because of the nature of this program, it is designed for the serious student interested in learning about printed electronics and functional imaging," Keif states. "This isn't like a two-hour webinar you sign up for on Thursday. We are looking for a committed group who will dig into serious study of the topic."
Cal Poly's learning management system will play host to the certificate program courses. Each course will employ various learning approaches. Everything from videos, to conventional readings, to simulations, to mailed samples, to live web cams, to virtual office hours will be employed to make the experience robust for the student. And participates will interact with each other, just like a conventional classroom environment. So, networking activities will be part of the classroom experience. Keif remarked, "we know these are busy working professionals so we do not intend on a bunch of busy work, but at the same time, there is a lot to learn from each other too. We see networking as a meaningful part of education."
Additional information about the program is available at http://printedelectronics.calpoly.edu
Source and top image: California Polytechnic State University