The introductory page to a new online Fundamentals of Engineering exam refresher course developed in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The free course went live in September.
The MOOC — a Massive Open Online Course — rolled out in September replaces the “refresher” sessions School faculty members used to offer students before the civil engineering version of what’s commonly called the FE exam (it was previously the EIT exam). The exam is now offered only online, and engineers can take it throughout the year.
With that change, “the idea of the one-time refresher courses went out of the window. It was no good anymore,” said Philip Roberts, the professor who spent the last two years or so building review material and recording 100 videos for the course. “So then we came up with this MOOC idea.”
With the help of Georgia Tech Professional Education, Roberts built seven modules of content corresponding with the topics covered on the FE exam, particularly the civil and mechanical engineering versions. They cover math, mechanics of materials, statics, and fluid mechanics, among other areas.
“It’s modular, so students can pick and choose whatever modules they want to review and they can do the exercises online,” Roberts said. “If they don’t understand anything, they can rewind, look through it again. So from that point of view, it’s much better [than the refresher courses we used to offer].”
Roberts said between 100 and 120 students typically attended those refresher sessions every year. He expects the online course to far exceed those numbers — it’s free, open to anyone, and available any time around the world.
In its first few weeks, the course already has more than 500 people from 83 countries enrolled and working through the content. Almost half of those are in the United States, Roberts said.
“We’re proud to be able to offer this outstanding resource for the engineering community,” said Reginald DesRoches, the Karen and John Huff school chair of civil and environmental engineering. “The online FE preparation developed by Dr. Roberts is yet another example of how technology can be used to provide access for lifelong learning as well as maximum flexibility to our current and former students.”
The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is the first step toward licensure for young engineers. They must pass the exam, then work with a licensed professional engineer for four years before they can sit for the licensing test.
Watch the introductory video for the new Fundamentals of Engineering exam prep course.