In January, U.S. News & World Report released its 2021 Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs rankings, with GW’s online masters programs ranked #14, climbing more than 40 spots from #55 just four years ago.
Dr. Shahram Sarkani, the director of SEAS online programs, said that he believes student satisfaction is the primary factor in the large jump in those rankings. “Satisfaction from our students is high, and we make sure to always improve,” he maintained. “We run a curriculum that is useful and relevant; people perceive this and they send their colleagues to us.”
Currently more than 1,000 students are enrolled in the online programs, which include Master of Science programs in electrical engineering, engineering management, systems engineering, and cybersecurity policy and compliance.
In contrast to most online offerings, including impersonal MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that serve tens of thousands of students and have little to no interaction with a faculty member, the GW courses emphasize interaction with faculty.
“We still use the approach of having a professor dedicated to teaching a particular course live each semester at a designated day and time,” explained Dr. Sarkani. “Students can always watch the recorded course later if they can’t log in during the live class, but we really encourage them to attend live and ask questions of the professor, and this approach promotes interaction with our faculty. We also have online office hours every day so students can interact with the faculty.”