SOCORRO, N.M., January 10, 2002 -- For the past decade, New Mexico Tech -- a leader in science and engineering education and research -- has developed a Distance Education program that allows working professionals the opportunity to earn their master of science degree with the convenience of never setting foot on the Socorro campus.

The university's Distance Ed program has advanced greatly over the years and today encompasses more than five degree programs and 20 classes. Programs include Master of Science degrees in Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Science Teaching, Petroleum Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

Distance Ed classes are recorded, using a live class on the Socorro campus, and are broadcast to other universities across the state through teleconferencing and Internet web-casting technologies. These virtual classrooms allow students to interact with the class in Socorro as if they were actually there. The taped classes are also mailed to the students.

With the use of WebCT programming software, the New Mexico Tech Master of Science Teaching (MST) program launched its first online course during the Fall 2002 Semester.

The MST program is designed to help full-time teachers expand their education and keep up with the latest developments in science, while fitting the studies into their busy schedules.

A new online course available to New Mexico teachers - Technical Communication - teaches technical writing skills that are ideally suited for English and science teachers. The instructor, Dr. Carole Yee, says that she "feels fortunate" to be a part of the online course.

Yee feels that the course offers a great opportunity for full-time teachers to expand on their education without the inconveniences of attending a traditional class.

Class assignments in the online course are posted on the class website. Yee interacts with students via chat rooms, e-mail, and message boards, and grades the assignments herself, giving the class a more personalized, traditional classroom feel.

More courses are being added to the Distance Ed program, including more online courses. Plans are also underway to offer more undergraduate programs through New Mexico Tech's Distance Ed curricula.

Marisa Wolfe, Distance Education program coordinator expects tremendous growth for the programs: "Distance Education has a great future in New Mexico because it allows working professionals to advance their careers through one of the top science and research universities in the country. These virtual classrooms are changing the way we all look at higher education."
For more information on Distance Education programs, contact Marisa Wolfe by phone at (505)835-5511, or e-mail mst@nmt.edu.