Distance Learning

In the MSTCM program, students communicate electronically and research, study, complete, and turn in assignments over the Internet.

All of the students enrolled in the MSTCM program are distance learners. Our students span the globe, from Macon, Georgia to Beijing, China, and our alumni hail from Asia and Europe, as well as from North America.

Given the evolving nature of electronic communications technology and the widespread use of the Internet, we have been able to provide more and more enhancements to our MSTCM program in the School of Engineering at Mercer University and to reach increasingly diverse students on a global basis.

Our synchronous class sessions currently use WebEx voice and video chats in which faculty can provide mini-lecture content, and students can discuss research accessed over the Internet, as well as discuss and share solutions to the projects that they are developing. Students submit assignments using email, Dropbox, or Mercer's Blackboard server, which is also used for asynchronous discussions.

With a computer and an Internet connection, faculty and students also contact each other asynchronously through an email listserv. The students can asynchronously access online courses, including the course syllabus, lectures, podcasts, weekly assignments, resources, and deliverables.

Using the resources available through Mercer's libraries and the Internet, students do research for their projects and submit their assignments electronically. Faculty feedback is personal and prompt, closing the distance among learners.

From time to time, individual or small-group teleconferences may also be held. As digital video storage, transfer, collaboration applications, and compression-decompression technologies advance, we will continue to enhance our electronic communications capabilities, both synchronously and asynchronously.

Distance Learning Requirements for Mercer's MSTCM Students

MSTCM's distance learning structure requires that students use computers to communicate as well as to complete assignments. Therefore, to succeed in the program, students must possess very strong computer skills, Internet research skills, and basic web design skills. In addition, students should be comfortable with the recommended hardware/software and be able to download and post materials in a variety of forms.

Recommended hardware/software includes the following:

  • Internet connection (broadband recommended)

  • Recent version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer

  • Recent version of Windows or OS X

  • Microsoft Office 2007 or later

  • Headset with microphone, or earphones and separate microphone

  • Webcam

How You  Will Benefit from Distance Learning

Students who take on the role of distance learner within the MSTCM program gain immeasurable value through the program's curriculum in a structure that provides them with enormous flexibility as well as responsibility. Because the program is presented primarily via the Web, the program is a good fit for professionals wishing to further their studies while continuing to work.

While distant learners' relationships with the school are different than the relationships of students physically present on Mercer's campuses, distance learners represent a unique body of students within the university and are eligible to receive many of the same benefits traditional students receive.

One such benefit is access to research facilities. As a distance learner, the Internet is your primary information resource. However, libraries and searchable publications are a recommended secondary source. The Jack Tarver Library  in Macon is Mercer's main library and offers a number of services to distance learners. The Jack Tarver Library is open to all students who are within traveling distance. Additionally, the major professional journals are now searchable and readable online.

Distance learners further receive value through online advising. Students receive information on both courses and career opportunties that is comparable in quality to that gained through face-to-face advising. Faculty strive to eliminate the distance gap by taking a personal and active interest in each student's education at Mercer.

In addition to building relationships with faculty, the MSTCM program further emphasizes relationship-building among distance learners. Online newsletters distributed three times a year help to keep students in touch with news about each other in addition to general student information.

Online MSTCM Admissions

For those interested in completing the Online MSTCM, it should be noted that Mercer University complies with applicable state and federal regulations pertaining to Distance Learning programs and enrollment in these programs depends on the state laws where the student resides. Mercer University may not be able to offer these programs in your state. There are also special provisions for International applicants interested in the Online MSTCM. Please contact the SSBE Office of Admissions to discuss this as part of your application.