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Popular Articles (November 2014)

Includes the top 50 most frequently downloaded documents for this publication according to the most recent monthly usage statistics.
  • 1. General System Theory

    Page(s): 63
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    General system theory or, more simply, system theory is essentially a body of abstract concepts and mathematical techniques which can be applied to analysis and design of a wide variety of physical systems. This paper presents a brief exposition of some of the basic concepts of system theory and sketches its principal problems and techniques. The discussion centers on the notion of state and state-space methods. Among the problems touched upon are those of characterization and identification, optimal control and system equivalence. View full abstract»

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  • 2. Queue Theory

    Page(s): 99 - 105
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  • 3. A General Course in Traveling Waves

    Page(s): 15 - 19
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    Traveling waves must be considered whenever the time for a disturbance to propagate from one place to another is important. A course with this as its theme has been developed to replace the usual course in transmission lines or distributed constant circuits. Emphasis is placed on the transmission line as a teaching vehicle, but plane waves in space; vibrating strings and membranes; acoustic waves in gases, liquids and solids; heat conduction; and chemical diffusion are also treated. The analogies between the "telegraphers' equations" and comparable equations describing nonelectrical phenomena are stressed. Transients are treated for two special cases: 1) lossless lines and acoustics, and 2) diffusion and heat transfer. Steady state analysis using phasors and the Smith Chart is applied to plane electromagnetic and acoustic waves at all angles of incidence, as well as to the transmission line. Spherical acoustic waves are treated briefly. View full abstract»

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  • 4. System theory

    Page(s): 61 - 63
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    I have attempted to call attention to what is perhaps the weakest link in system theory, namely, the process of making measurements which yield the numbers that serve as the inputs to the mathematical theory. I have called attention to Dirac's notation because quantum mechanics, in which this notation was first used, is very much concerned with the measurement process and the notions of linear operators which are used therein have a very close tie to measurement problems in larger systems. Secondly, I have suggested that we need more invention and critical innovation in developing a notation well suite(d for the representation and study of systems. Here, vector-space concepts and matrix notation may be used to good advantage, and signal-flow graphs provide a new kind of algebraic notation that is well matched to the visual sense and deserves continued study. Finally, the links between the theory and the natural universe may be strengthened by extending the rich stockpile of abstract concepts downward to acquire ever fuller itnterpretations and insights into physical phenomena. Let us not forget Poincare's answer to the question, "Who has taught us the true analogies, the profound analogies which the eyes do not see, but which reason can divine? It is the mathematical mind, which scorns content and clings to pure form." View full abstract»

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  • 5. Teaching Machines

    Page(s): 14 - 22
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  • 6. Education in the Space Age

    Page(s): 66 - 77
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    The dynamic persistence of scientific and technological development in the past two decades has aroused an intensity of public interest in education which is higher today than at any time in history. Perhaps the greatest impact of scientific progress has been the emergence of a more universal view of human society as a whole. We have two cultures-that of science, and that associated with the more traditional values of the humanities. This paper represents a technologist's attempt to present a bird's eye view of the broad educational scene, both national and international. In discussing the major issue of the controversial scientist-vs-the-non-scientist problem, the author finds that it is the non-scientist-the humanist, the artist, the literary intellectual, the politician-who is the most unbalanced member of our society, in terms of the formal education which he receives. View full abstract»

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  • 7. Diodes

    Page(s): 128 - 133
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    Semiconductor diodes have achieved great prominence in the electronic industry because of their outstanding performance and great versatility. They are consequently of increasing importance in the education of electrical engineers. Since new diodes are being continually developed, it is essential that the educational emphasis be placed on underlying principles rather than on the devices themselves. In this paper a brief descriptive outline is presented of some of the p-n junction phenomena that are important in understanding diode performance. Among these phenomena are nonlinear resistance, conductivity modulation, avalanche breakdown, carrier storage, junction capacitance, and carrier tunneling. As illustrations of these effects, the characteristics of several types of diodes are discussed. View full abstract»

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  • 8. Linear Graph Theory-A Fundamental Engineering Discipline

    Page(s): 42 - 49
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    Current techniques for formulating the mathematical characteristics of physical systems vary greatly from one type to another (mechanical, electrical, thermal, etc.). Of these techniques, those used in electrical network analysis have proven to be the more orderly and generally applicable as evidenced by repeated efforts on the part of the system analyst to establish first an electrical analog of the system in question. This paper presents the basis of an operational concept of system analysis embracing all types of systems, and presents an orderly, sure, and relatively simple basis for extending the discipline of linear graph theory (abstracted form of network theory) to the analysis and synthesis of all types of lumped-parameter systems without the artifice of analogies. It is indicated that these procedures and concepts also provide a means for extending electrical network theory beyond current applications to include systems of multiterminal components. View full abstract»

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  • 9. A Methol for Preparing Auto-Instructional Programs

    Page(s): 151 - 157
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    This article describes a method for preparing instructional programs, and is meant to be a guide for the person who is an experienced instructor but a novice programmer. It outlines the steps involved in one method of programming, and briefly describes how each step is accomplished. The article is specifically intended to help an instructor prepare his first program, and specifically excludes both theoretical discussions and descriptions of the detailed mechanics of frame preparation. View full abstract»

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  • 10. A Unified Procedure for Deriving the Differential Equations of Electrical and Mechanical Systems

    Page(s): 18 - 26
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    Based on energy considerations, it is possible to obtain the differential equations of motion of any physical system. A statement of equilibrium involving operations on energy functions is the Lagrange equation d / OT a7' D aOV dt (aq,) -aq aq + aq. Providing that the kinetic energy T, potential energy V, and dissipation function D can be written, the differential equations of the system are obtained by following a straightforward systematic procedure. It is not necessary to employ Kirchhoff's laws or Newton's force law to obtain the equations of electrical and mechanical systems. Rather, the two kinds of systems fall within the scope of this general method. The energy method is particularly useful in dealing with electromechanical systems and with mechanical systems that combine rotation and translation. Nonlinear as well as linear systems can be handled with equal ease. Versatility of the method is shown by its application to various examples, chosen in more or less increasing order of complexity. A set of tables is provided, listing the energy functions for each basic type of electrical, mechanical and electromechanical element. Those charged with teaching students the different disciplines of dynamics and electric circuits should find herein a common meeting ground wherein one general method suffices to yield the necessary differential equations. View full abstract»

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  • 11. Modern Objectives and Methods for Laboratory Instruction

    Page(s): 168 - 172
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    In considering the role of the undergraduate laboratory in an engineering curriculum, it is important that the objectives of the laboratory program be well understood and clearly set forth. It is proposed that the objectives of a modern laboratory program should be: 1) to supplement and strengthen the teaching of subject matter by laboratory methods and 2) to teach the theory and practice of experimentation. A complete laboratory program designed to meet the above objectives should include classroom demonstrations, self-demonstrations, a course on the theory and practice of experimentation, a measurements course, and a senior projects laboratory. The unique features of, such a laboratory program are 1) the self-demonstrations which are designed and programmed much like a teaching machine but which are made up of normal laboratory equipment with which the student carries out an actual physical experiment, and 2) the handling of the theory and practice of experimentation as a body of information which can be taught and which exists as a subject in its own right to be included in an engineering curriculum. View full abstract»

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  • 14. College Recruiting a Portfolio of Expectations

    Page(s): 10 - 13
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    Each year America's industries and colleges join forces in an action aimed at converting the engineering student into an engineer employee. Principals in this operation are the company recruiter and the college placement director. Through the years each member of this unique alliance has come to learn the strength and weaknesses of his partner; each has profited and suffered through the other; each has developed his own ideas on how the other should operate. IRE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION recently asked a number of executives on company recruiting staffs and college placement offices for their opinions on the current state of college recruiting, and for suggestions on improving the operation in future years. This two-part article presents excerpts from some of the replies received. View full abstract»

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  • 15. The Technology of Information Systems-Another Challenge for Engineering Education

    Page(s): 91 - 97
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    The proper functioning of the world in which we live is becoming more and more dependent on information and how we use it. With methodologies and machines that are becoming available to information systems technology, we are, indeed, entering the Age of Information-an age of promise in business, in government, and in the military that can have as profound an effect on the world as the harnessing of the atom, the development of electric power, or the Industrial Revolution of the Nineteenth Century. The purpose of this paper is to delineate the broad technology of information systems in order to provide a basis for estimating the impact of this technology on future engineering education. Suggestions for modifying under-graduate engineering curriculums are made in order that future engineering graduates will be prepared to contribute to the continuing development of the technology and to utilize the technology in performing other engineering work. This paper discusses such topics as: What is an Information System?; Functions of a Generic Information System; Men in Information Systems; Machines in Information Systems; Methods in Information Systems; How Information Systems Are Created; Major Problems Facing Information Systems Technology; and The Challenge for Engineering Education. View full abstract»

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  • 16. Feedback and Systems Engineering

    Page(s): 82 - 85
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  • 17. Thoughts on Engineering Education

    Page(s): 122 - 126
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    The writer recently spent a year as Visiting Professor of mechanical engineering at Lehigh University, Bethehem, Pa. As a result of this visit and incidental visits to other Universities and laboratories in the U. S. A. and England, some thoughts on engineering education are here set down. First, comparisons are drawn between American and British engineerinig schools, and then analyses of the curricula in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering are made in order to discover the common content. From this emerges a fairly generally accepted common core which may be used as a yardstick or norm and as a starting point for any revision. Interesting educational trends are evident, both in curricula and physical equipment. These are reviewed and suggestions as to the future are made. View full abstract»

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  • 18. Training System Design Engineers

    Page(s): 150 - 152
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    System design engineers are in short supply and difficult to train. On-the-job training is the principal method used today, and the universities that seek to train system engineers make use of cooperative arrangements with industry to provide such experience. This paper suggests that training emphasis incorrectly has been placed on skills that are useful in system design work, rather than on the development of certain valuable qualities (talents or personality traits). On-the-job training is often pursued without due recognition of the importance of these qualities, and academic training today seems more attuned to the teaching of skills. It is hoped that discussion of these factors will help stimulate educators and engineering managers to search for ways to shorten the long training cycle. View full abstract»

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  • 19. The Use of an Automatic Computer System in Teachin

    Page(s): 156 - 167
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    PLATO II is an automatic teaching device designed to teach a number of students concurrently, but independently, by means of a single, central, high-speed computer. Only two student sites have been constructed thus far, but, in principal, the number of students that can be taught by PLATO II is limited only by the capacity and speed of the central computer. The power of such a computer-based teaching system stems from its ability to ask complex questions, judge the students' answers to these questions, and take an appropriate course of action on the basis of student responses. The computer also keeps detailed and accurate records of student performance, which are extremely useful guides to improving course content. The paper reports in some detail a study using PLATO II to teach nine undergraduate students a portion of a course on computer programming. By way of example of what can be done, the paper presents some analysis and interpretation of data gathered by the computer in the course of the study. The apparent effectiveness of PLATO II as a teacher, as well as the kinds of problems encountered in preparing lesson material for an automatic system, are discussed. View full abstract»

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  • 23. Models and Model Construction

    Page(s): 64 - 67
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  • 24. Evolution of Graduate Education in Electrical Engineering in Metropolitan Areas

    Page(s): 32 - 36
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    The evolution of graduate education in electrical engineering began in the early 1890' s and progressed at a rapid pace in the 1920' s, particularly in metropolitan areas conscious of community needs. In these areas, evening programs held the spotlight because of the ever-demanding need to provide graduate engineers with advanced knowledge. Such cooperation between community interests and colleges has resulted in a wide variety of patterns of part-time study on campus and, more recently, off campus. The later development is viewed with criticism in several educational circles although off-campus programs are filling tremendous requirements arising from industrial concentrations not within easy reach of a university or college. The evolution seems to indicate that off campus programs are not a passing fancy and that such requirements are very likely to be best satisfied in the long run by the establishment of graduate centers with a faculty in residence. As an example, the Polytechnic Graduate Center on Long Island is described. (The Center, actually located in Farmingdale, N. Y., began its operation on September 25, 1961, with a graduate student body of nearly 700 in day and evening programs involving advanced courses in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electrophysics, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and Industrial Management. Close to 150 part-time day students are attending on a released-time basis, in addition to 45 full-time students in residence.) View full abstract»

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  • 25. Teaching Machines: General Purpose and Special Purpose

    Page(s): 30 - 31
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    The main purpose of this paper is to present and clarify the subdivision of teaching machines into the General Purpose and Special Purpose categories. Initial defining of: Teaching Machines, General Purpose Teaching Machines, Special Purpose Teaching Machines, and Teaching Machine Technology will establish a frame of reference within which this paper will be presented. The distinctions between the general purpose and special purpose teaching machines will be in the areas of the motivations of each type, the differences in the-basic functional block diagrams, if any, and the applications of each type to technical training and engineering education. A prediction is also given. View full abstract»

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  • 26. Control System Digital Computer Transfer Function Simulation

    Page(s): 15 - 17
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    The z transform of simple delay, integrator, leadlag, and differentiator networks are suggested as the basic building blocks for simulating complex control systems on a digital computer. The system parameters retain their explicit identity, thus facilitating analysis and design of the system as a function of specific parameter changes. View full abstract»

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  • 27. PLATO: An Automatic Teaching Device

    Page(s): 157 - 161
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    PLATO¿a teaching machine developed during the past nine months at the Coordinated Science Laboratory of the University of Illinois¿is a device for teaching a number of students individually by means of a single, central, high-speed general-purpose digital computer. Each student is provided with his own keyset and television display. The keyset enables the student to control the sequence of materials presented to him by the machine, as well as to transmit to the computer answers to its questions. The computer communicates to each student by closed circuit television. It selects slides and writes or erases sentences and diagrams on a storage tube. These two outputs are superimposed and displayed on the student's television screen. Not only are textual materials presented to each student at a rate determined by that student, but the computer frequently poses questions. The student's answers¿which may take the form of numerals, algebraic expressions, or words and phrases ¿are judged by the computer without revealing the correct answer to the question. Supplementary material is presented by the machine upon request for any question which the student finds difficult. The computer keeps detailed records of each student's progress through the material. Though a two-student version of PLATO is now in operation, the paper describes in detail an earlier one-student system. The system has been used to present a variety of subject matters, ranging from mathematics to topics in French grammar. View full abstract»

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  • 28. A Case for a Liberal Engineering Education and a Nonprofessional Degree

    Page(s): 86 - 91
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    The traditional four-year engineering program gives neither an adequate professional training nor a liberal education. It is proposed that a four-year program of "liberal engineering" be instituted which synthesizes traditionally compartmentalized disciplines and concentrates on the intellectual components of the profession. Specialized professional training should be the proper function of the graduate school. View full abstract»

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  • 29. Thoughts on Engineering Education

    Page(s): 6 - 8
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    Engineering curricula are in a process of dynamic change as a result of the rapidly accelerating rate of advance technology. The rapid accumulation of knowledge leads to a selection process of the materials to be included in the curriculum. If the emphasis in engineering education is on the imparting of facts even facts about "fundamentals" the engineer will soon be wallowing in the wake of the advancing technology. Major emphasis in engineering education should be placed on developing in the student the open-minded attitudes and the critical approach to the solving of problems be they technical, economic, political, or social problems-that is implicit in the phrase "method of science." View full abstract»

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  • 30. Solid-State Energy Conversion Devices

    Page(s): 134 - 137
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    Conversions of energy in general are considered first, with emphasis on schemes appropriate for energy conversion devices. For the purposes of this paper, the vast numbers of conversion possibilities are restricted to solid-state devices. The direct coupling between heat and electricity is singled out for more detailed discussion of a useful figure of merit. The present state of the thermoelectric generator art is reviewed briefly, with some predictions of future developments. View full abstract»

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  • 31. Physical Electronics Underlying Junction Transistor Characteristics

    Page(s): 116 - 127
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    In most transistors which are useful to engineering, densities of electrons and holes are low enough so that random energies have the classical Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. Also, the customary large ratios of majority-to-minority carrier densities result in majority-carrier flow occurring in response to electric gradients, and minority-carrier flow by diffusion due to concentration gradients. Steps using these principles to derive junction transistor volt-ampere characteristic equations are: 1) interface contact potential determination, 2) expression of emitter and collector currents in terms of random-motion interface penetration, 3) boundary-value solution of the diffusion-flow differential equation, to give minority-carrier density distributions, 4) expression of currents in terms of at-interface density distribution gradients, 5) elimination of at-interface minority-carrier densities between 2) and 4), giving the Ebers and Moll volt-ampere equations. These equations show how base thickness, diffusion lengths, and relative majority carrier densities in emitter, base, and collector affect the characteristics. The residual collector current is found to be a measure of electron-hole pair generation. The relation of this current to surface energy states, and to the associated double layer of charge at and near the surface, is discussed. View full abstract»

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  • 32. An Alarmist View of Engineering College Enrollment

    Page(s): 58 - 62
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    Engineering college enrollment is in some measure a response to the demand for trained people. The forecasting of enrollment may thus be improved if it is based upon trends in the demand for trained people. One way to measure these trends, which does not seem to have been explored, comes from consideration of the membership in technical societies. The trends found in this way are very marked. The over-all rate of growth so indicated is exponential and is about 7 1/2 per cent per year. The indicated growth rate in electrical engineering is much greater than in any of the other major subdivisions of engineering except chemical engineering. View full abstract»

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  • 33. The Functional Context Method of Instruction

    Page(s): 52 - 57
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    This is a discussion of a method of instruction designed to replace conventional methods for training radio repairmen. In traditional radio repair instruction, basic electronics has been taught as a block of instruction preceding instruction on intact equipment and maintenance operations. This approach is criticized for its failure to provide the student with meaningful and relevant contexts for the learning of basic electronics and for the obstacles it presents to the assimilation of basic electronics knowledge into maintenance skills. A new approach, entitled the functional context method, is offered as a means for avoiding these shortcomings. This is accomplished through a topic sequence wherein basic electronics is taught in the broader contexts of over-all equipment functions and maintenance operations. View full abstract»

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  • 34. Elementary Introduction to Electrodynamics

    Page(s): 124 - 128
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    Objectionable examples of time-varying electromagnetic fields occurring in elementary textbooks are pointed out and the difficulties arising in connection with them are discussed. The interdependence of spatial and time variations of the electromagnetic fields is recalled. As an illustration, two simple examples are given to show how the variation of fields with time is automatically determined by the wave equation and initial spatial distribution. It is suggested that only fields which satisfy the wave equation be used in textbooks. View full abstract»

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  • 35. Teaching Aids for Laboratory Courses in Electrical Circuits and Electronics

    Page(s): 46 - 51
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    As more and more material becomes relevant for laboratory work in the undergraduate curriculum in electrical engineering, it becomes increasingly important to find more efficient systems for setting up the equipment for laboratory experiments. Any such system should result in a neat, easily followed arrangement when assembled, should be flexible with respect to the experiments which can be performed, and should not result in stereotyped experiments. This paper describes a system which has been evolved utilizing chassis upon which are mounted an array of banana jacks on three-quarter inch centers. Many different circuits can be assembled easily and quickly by plugging in components which are mounted on double banana plugs. Different chassis are arranged for different circuits such as a dual triode, single pentode, and push-pull power amplifier. View full abstract»

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  • 36. The Pros and Cons of Graduate Students Working Part-Time in Industry

    Page(s): 78 - 81
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    To provide a method for graduate engineers to acquire advanced degrees, some industrial organizations have instituted a part-time employee program. The difficulties encountered by an industry, an employee and an educational institution which have been involved in such a program are indicated in this paper. Suggestions are made, which should improve the benefits derived from such a program. Since programs of this type will provide a better qualified technical force for industry and the nation, they deserve the attention of educators at this time. Greater cooperation between industry and educational institutions will provide a benefit to all. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

This Transactions ceased production on 1963. The current retitled publication is IEEE Transactions on Education.

Full Aims & Scope