Online FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Online courses in Engineering and Computer Science

I missed the online information session but know you folks are amazingly accommodating and likely recorded it because you thought ahead and you have a link so I can watch the session. Is that true?

What courses are offered?

Courses available to online students can be seen in the online course catalog. We also list the courses with some descriptive information along with our residential program courses on this website. The online courses are shaded in the pathway diagram and availability (residential, online, or both) is given in the text.

What are the prerequisites for your engineering courses?

Prerequisite information is listed in the online course catalog. Generally Engineering courses require you to be comfortable with algebra, trigonometry (sine, cosine, and tangent relationships), exponentiation, and solving a simple set of simultaneous equations. You should also be able to understand and create a graph of data and plot points on a coordinate system.

What are the prerequisites for your computer science courses?

Prerequisite information is listed in the online course catalog. We currently offer Human and Computer Interaction, which requires basic programming experience. You do not need to be an expert programmer but should be familiar with variable types, conditional statements, loops/iteration, functions, and variable scope. Taking the online cryptography course offered by Math or the computational physics course from Science satisfies this requirement as does your providing AP scores or demonstrating competence through a placement exam. Details on placement are available here.

What is covered in the courses? What types of assessments are there? How is this course graded?

Syllabi for each course is available by clicking on the course number in the engineering or computer science course page. These syllabi are meant to provide general guidance as specifics may change depending on the format (online versus residential) and the expertise and/or focus of the instructor.

What does it mean that online weekends are required?

All of our courses have required online weekends where students come to campus one Saturday to engage in hands-on activities. These are required because some learning in engineering and computer science requires field, design, or group work that just can't be done easily remotely and which benefits from an extended time together. You should not register for a course if you know you cannot make the online weekend. Online weekends are also a way to meet your classmates and instructors and that has benefits beyond the material being taught.

Who are the course instructors?

Instructors and courses can change, but these are those currently schedule for the 2021/2022 school year:

Dr. Larry Hodges teaches Human and Computer Interaction

Dr. Rex Jeffries teaches Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Garrett Love teaches Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Shannon Namboodri teaches Environmental and Civil Engineering

Are there research courses in engineering and computer science?

We typically offer research courses open to online students over the summer. Based on faculty availability, these can be in computer science, engineering, or both. Please see the Research and Innovation program for more about these opportunities.

What is the difference between the computation courses and the computer science courses?

Computational courses use programs to model scientific processes in physics, chemistry, biology, and medicine. These tools are commonly used by professional researchers in these areas and these courses are great for learning how to explore questions in these disciplines using computational methods. Computer science course focus on creating software that is accurate, efficient, safe, and which interacts with humans in a reasonable and ethical way. Computational courses can teach you some about programming, but the focus is the science. Computer Science courses may help you get going faster with computational tools, but there is typically not strong discipline focus.