Design MSc degree goes online -

Design MSc degree goes online


The Institute for System Level Integration (ISLI) has launched an online MSc degree in system level integration. Based at the Alba Centre in Livingston, Scotland, ISLI was also the first to provide a full-time postgraduate qualification in this specialised, discipline.

This course is designed to enable electronic engineers build their technical skills in a discipline that is growing in strategic importance to the semiconductor industry .

Professor Steve Beaumont, Director of ISLI, commented, “The electronics design industry is undergoing significant technical change, which requires continual professional development on the part of even highly-skilled engineers. ISLI is addressing these demands by delivering both a fulltime and part-time MSc in System Level Integration. The distance learning programme minimises the requirement for student attendance, allowing them to conveniently accommodate their skill development needs around employment and personal commitments.

“Some of our other programmes such as the Engineering Doctorate in System Level Integration have been highly successful in attracting top quality graduates, with student numbers doubling year on year. We are confident that this online Masters programme too will enjoy the same success in the UK and globally, especially on account of the ease of enrolling in a distance learning programme.”The online Masters is designed as a flexible form of the full-time, on-campus MSc in system level integration. The first four modules of this distance learning programme are now available on the web and include Introduction to Electronic Design Automation, Introduction to Embedded Software (6 credits, VLSI Design, and Microcontrollers and Microprocessors.

Students log on to course materials online and are able to access course materials at any hour of the day. Students submit course work and questions by email and fax and will receive tutor support by a variety of methods, including web-based discussion groups, email, post and telephone. Design exercises and teaching support are built into the courses, enabling students to assess their understanding of a topic and call on tutor support as needed. In each course, some practical exercises will be carried out using remote access to design tools.

More modules will be continually added to build the complete Masters degree. There will 17 in all and be in sections covering embedded software, applications and systems and hardware design.

The course content has been developed by academics in the Electronics and Computing Science departments of ISLI's partner universities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, HeriotWatt and Strathclyde.

Financial support for UK/Euorpean Union self-funding students and to employees of UK-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is available. A number of bursaries can reduce tuition fees up to £500 per module. Enrolment is now open for the courses, scheduled to begin in April 2002. A full distance learning prospectus and timetable, together with information on how to enrol for a course is available on

Prior to enrolement on the programme, each student will have the opportunity for a telephone, email or face-to-face interview with the programme director. A tutor will support students in their studies, using a combination of telephone, fax, post and electronic communication.Blackboard, a secure on-line managed learning environment (hosted on the ISLI server), will be used to enhance communication, give access to learning materials, encourage peer support and monitor student progress.

The ISLI was established in 1998 to deliver postgraduate education and research in the methodology and applications of System Level Integration and System-on-Chip design.

The Institute is an academic collaboration of four of Scotland's leading universities Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde. It combines the expertise of their seven departments of Electronic Engineering and Computer Sciences with those of its own teaching and design staff and has a high level of industrial participation in all of its teachings and research activities.

ISLI is located at the Alba Centre on the Alba Campus in Livingston, Scotland. The Alba Centre is a collaboration between government, academia and industry, with a focus on System-on-Chip and System Level Integration. It is an initiative of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland's leading economic development agency, to develop Scotland as a world location for excellence in electronic design.The Institute contributes its distance learning modules to the Continuing Education in Electronics Systems Integration (CEESI) initiative. CEESI is a collaborative programme, which provides flexible learning in electronic systems design by capitalising on the specialist teaching of a number of UK universities.

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