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Education

Auburn University First To Offer Wireless Degree 195

EyesWideOpen writes "Auburn University in Alabama will become the first school in the country to offer a four-year bachelor's degree in the study of wireless technology this fall. Since its inception three months ago an estimated 30 to 50 students have signed up for Auburn's wireless engineering program. 'All engineering students are expected to complete liberal arts and general engineering classes the first two years of school. They then can focus on wireless during their last two years of study by taking courses such as Wireless Design Lab, RF Devices and Circuits, and 3G and 4G Wireless.'"
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Auburn University First To Offer Wireless Degree

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  • by Komrade S. ( 604620 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:09PM (#4172635) Homepage
    I can't wait to get my Wardriving degree, with a chalk marking hieroglyphics major. Let's not even get into the possibilities of fly-by wireless haxoring exams. Ooo, watch out for that tree little Jimmy!
  • Evolution (Score:2, Funny)

    by clones ( 19801 )
    By the time you graduate 3g will be deployed.
  • by miratim ( 532741 ) <miratim@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:10PM (#4172649) Homepage
    Wouldn't this kids be better off with a degree in EE, concentrating in wireless? That's like getting a degree in web services instead of Computer Science.
  • With all the standards out there (11a, b, g, etc) they are going to need more than a BS, they're going to need a Ph.D.
  • by jukal ( 523582 )
    ... or you really are stuck in the stone age, atleast here in Finland you have been able to study the subject in deep detail for years. Now, seriously, is this news there in US? This is not a flamebait, I am truly interested in this.
    • ... or you really are stuck in the stone age, atleast here in Finland you have been able to study the subject in deep detail for years. Now, seriously, is this news there in US? This is not a flamebait, I am truly interested in this.

      I think you're a little confused. There's a difference between studying a subject and receiving a degree in that subject. Most universities offer a wide variety of subjects to study, but a relatively limited number of majors. To major in something generally requires around a dozen subjects in the area (plus or minus a few), with some sort of structured curriculum, maybe a thesis, etc. There have certainly been classes on wireless technology for quite some time, but to have a wireless major is quite different. As many have pointed out, it seems akin to getting a degree in Web Development, and so is likely more of a PR bit than anything. A degree in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in wireless technologies seems like a lot better option.. Just my 2 cents.

      • > I think you're a little confused

        I don't think I am. If you could understand finnish, you could read this [cs.tut.fi] and a number of others, the naming of the degree might be different, but what you study is exactly same. Once more, to me - it is astonishing, if a wireless degree is news in US.

        • I don't think I am. If you could understand finnish, you could read this [cs.tut.fi] and a number of others, the naming of the degree might be different, but what you study is exactly same. Once more, to me - it is astonishing, if a wireless degree is news in US.

          Again, as others have pointed out, it's been possible for quite some time to study EE with a concentration in wireless technologies, which is virtually the same thing. So if you did EE with a focus on wireless then "what you study is exactly the same" and "the naming of the degree might be different." Comprende? It is only news because traditionally majors are predominantly limited to more classical areas of study.. Literature, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Philosophy, Art, etc.

          • >Again, as others have pointed out, it's been possible for quite some time to study EE with a
            > concentration in wireless technologies, which is virtually the same thing

            Ok, point understood, finally :)

      • Yes but to get your EE you have knoced down about 8 of your dozen areas, including (IMHO) the most difficult Electro-Magnetics.
        • Also, probably the most important. It's one thing to draw a circuit in PSpice or MentorGraphics and watch your simulations do their thing neatly and precisely. It's another thing altogether to deal with realities, like the fact that simple conductors actually do have finite impedances and capacitances, that wires arranged the wrong way can cause inductance problems and that the 60 Hz noise from the lights can cause a hum in your audio amplifier.
    • erm...more like people have been able to study this anyplace that offers a solid EE degree program. its not like its a brand new communication paradigm. my vote is that its just a marketing stunt.

      dude.
    • No, you have been able to study this for quite some time. To the best of my knowledge, when I graduated from university my institution offered at least 6 classes (two years of study) on Wireless engineering.

      The change here is that you can actually make it your major (i.e. primary) area of study (I'm not sure if you have this concept in Finland).
    • Well the real reason they're offering is because Samuel Ginn gave 25 million to Engineering College if they did two things.

      1) Rename it to be the "Samuel Ginn College of Engineering" which everything officially now says.

      2) Offer a Wireless Engineering degree.

      I'm a Junior taking good old fashioned Computer Science at AU. I do think people are probably better off just taking EE and then concentrating on wireless. I'm sure there have been EEs studying wireless for years, just not an official degree for it.
    • Nope you're right... we ARE that far behind in the wireless world. That's why this is such a huge first step.
      Of course, in Suomi you've had this for a while cuz you've had Nokia Oyj leading the way.

      Overe here in the States, standards are pretty much fragmented, and progress is coming in baby steps.
    • This is news because it is a special degree designed towards wireless rather than an EE degree with a concentration in wireless design. Besides it looks like more of a systems aproach than an EE aproach.
  • Great :-) (Score:2, Funny)

    by xintegerx ( 557455 )
    Now, juniors and seniors can bring Cell Phones to class and the professors don't have a say.

    "Tomorrow" ON SLASHDOT:

    "Due to increasing interest, Auburn University will launch a first-in-the-country program next fall for a B.S. degree in

    NOISE POLLUTION MANAGEMENT"

    :/

    ~Int
  • Egad (Score:5, Insightful)

    3G and 4G Wireless

    Oh, well, that's good. We all know that "3G" and "4G" are such important, well defined engineering terms.

    Coming soon to the CS department "Software engineering principles of version 2 and version 3 software.

    • by mph ( 7675 )
      Coming soon to the CS department "Software engineering principles of version 2 and version 3 software.
      Oh, that's easy. Version 2 will be bigger and slower than version 1, and version 3 will be bigger and slower than version 2.
      • Coming soon to the CS department "Software engineering principles of version 2 and version 3 software.
        Oh, that's easy. Version 2 will be bigger and slower than version 1, and version 3 will be bigger and slower than version 2.

        ...and don't forget, if they're proprietary products, Version 2 will be more expensive than Version 1, and Version 3 will be even more expensive and no longer compatible with version 1.
  • by LaserBeams ( 412546 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:16PM (#4172710)
    First of all, it shouldn't take four years to learn most of how any kind of networking works. On the computer/electronics side, both are basically the same, it's the transmission that's different.

    Now, why not combine wireless with wired networking as a major, and then get more people into that? While wireless is all "hip" and whatnot, you can't do everything wirelessly. Transmitting through thick rock and transmitting top secret data for example. However, if you're knowledgeable with both wired and wireless networks, you are of use to almost any company, even small ones who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford separate "in-house" and wireless network engineers.
    • First of all, it shouldn't take four years to learn most of how any kind of networking works.

      Maybe you missed the fact that the students are at Auburn University...

    • First of all, it shouldn't take four years to learn most of how any kind of networking works.

      Yes, it does. And even more. I've worked for a telecom equipment maker for three years now, and the depth of this stuff can be mind numbing. It's a commonly uttered truism here that you need to be working for at least 1 1/2 years to be able to actually say you KNOW what you're doing, and it's not until you've been working with the same thing for around 5 years that you can be considered an expert. And that's living and breathing this stuff day in and day out, without English, arts, and all those other classes getting in your way.

      While wireless is all "hip" and whatnot, you can't do everything wirelessly. Transmitting through thick rock and transmitting top secret data for example.

      People shouldn't get into this because it's "hip". They should choose it for the same reason they choose ANY major: they should have a reasonable expectation that this is a line of work that they'll enjoy.

      And we're not trying to do EVERYthing wirelessly. Just communicating.

      However, if you're knowledgeable with both wired and wireless networks, you are of use to almost any company...

      Heck, I could've been a janitor, and those are of use to any company. But again, that's not the point. People should major in this because it's something they think they'll enjoy doing.

      • a commonly uttered truism here that you need to be working for at least 1 1/2 years to be able to actually say you KNOW what you're doing

        So you are saying it is easy stuff then? I did a full 2 years at a manufactureing plant. When I left the only thing I really knew was my narrow field of functional test enginerring. Sure I knew of the other types of tests and the process of making a computer. But I would never say I KNEW what I was doing.

        Like the rest of my dept I was just faking it and hopeing no one would really notice. :-)

        • Hmm.. make sure you post what it was you manufactured next time. ;)

          No, what I was saying was that you could confidently say that you were able to do the job yourself, which often entailed going in the middle of the night to work at a customer's site.

          It was common to work as sort of an "understudy" for about a year and a half, and that's what I meant.

    • The wireless degree is essentially a EE degree with a hotter specialization on wireless applications. i.e. you still take power, but you deal with small scale voltages, etc. From a learning and administrative standpoint, keeping this program as a specialization of EE (as it always has been, at AU and other schools), makes more sense. Just like with the ECE (EE with computer option). It's easier to get an engineer to program, than a programmer to engineer. Plus, it's better to start broad and specialize on your way in, so you are better equipped to meet any challenge thrown at you. The traditional major may not know every in and out of an area like the specialist does, but will know a little bit about more things. So while the specialist will have no idea of stuff outside his field, the traditional major will have at least that little bit to fall back on and get going quicker.

      BUT, If Samuel Ginn comes up and gives you 25 million dollars to make that specialization a full fledged curriculum,.... are you going to say no?
      • I think at this point someone should mention that Samuel Ginn has a vested interest in producing wireless engineers.....been a while since I read the Alum mag on the purchase of the CoE, but iirc, Mr. Ginn owns a large regional cellular company.

        Being an Alum, I have to say I think that's a lousy name to plaster on the CoE, but nobody asked me, and I can't outbid him, so... ;)
    • They did say it included RF classes. RF hardware design can be interesting, in the Chinese sense of the word. Modeling fading and multipath over real terrain is something else you can't pick up in a day.

      Then you have all the issues of a high-noise environment. Phil Karn, for example, had to invent some algorithms to let TCP/IP run decently in a world where packet loss could happen without congestion. It's an interesting question -- do you hope the noise that obliterated your packet is temporary, or do you risk wasting bandwidth on futile retries? If you retry, how do you get good performance for both the congestion case and the corrupted-packet case?

      May not be a separate discipline worthy of its own degree, but there's more than one course worth of material to learn.
    • First of all, it shouldn't take four years to learn most of how any kind of networking works.

      It should if you want to start designing anything.

      First you need a few semesters of math to understand E&M physics, then after physics you can learn about antennae, etc.

      Again you build on a few semesters of math to learn the basics of signal processing, then DSP.

      Again with some math you can begin to learn probability and random processes.

      Then with signal processing and random processes you can finally learn how radio really works from a signals perspective. You can also now learn how to design digital communication systems that work under noisy conditions.

      It takes a lot of classes.
  • Wireless? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:17PM (#4172715)
    Oh, great. That ranks up there with a degree in Communications.

  • A good intro class would be "Build your own wireless network card" Professor: "Ok all the course materials will be available online which you can access using the campus' wireless gateway." Student: "But how Can i get to them if I dont have a wireless network card?" Professor: ::evil grin::
  • I'll let you know how well it goes in a few years. Woohoo...!....
  • Pontless... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by N3WBI3 ( 595976 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:21PM (#4172754) Homepage
    I hate 'special degrees' Wireless shoudl be a specialization in either Computers or Electrical or both. Im sorry wireless fall totally under EM theory, Computer Algorithms, and Electronics. There is nothing in it that an EE major (or Computer Engineering) would not/could not be exposed to in the course of their required courses + their elevtives. Its a gimik to increase admissions, no more no less.

    just like the $EthnicGroup Studies majors. They should be specializations in either history or political science. What were beginning to do is produce college graduated who are way too over specialized. I know of EE's who think they dont need E-Mag because they are going to do VLSI.

    Sorry for the rant its just my 2 cents.

    • Re:Pontless... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i7dude ( 473077 )
      "I know of EE's who think they dont need E-Mag because they are going to do VLSI."

      this is off topic, but what you said is so true...when i was getting my EE undergrad degree, the technology that we were using was so coarse that secondary EM and micorwave effects were neglegible. then i graduated and was thrown right into the wonderful world of sum-micron design at Ghz speeds...guess what, now EM and microwave theory is very relevant...most students would understand this if they were exposed to the technology that industry uses, rather than lagging behind and having to catch up on 5 years of innovation after graduating.

      specializing in a "wireless" degree is useless...if i was hiring...give me somebody with a strong background in EE and Physics over these cupcakes anyday.

      dude.

  • A wireless degree would cover Telsa, right?

    He was the first to demostrate trasmitting information via wireless, right?

    • by ch-chuck ( 9622 )
      No - TeSLa patented a device to transmit ENERGY - he wanted to light light bulbs w/o wires using coupled resonant RF tank coils (Take that, Edison!). Marconi was the 1st to make and install useful wireless telegraphs and built a big business, altho he infringed on Tesla's patent in doing so. The patent office didn't catch the prior art and it was overturned by the Supreme court in the 1940's.

      SEE the actual Tesla patent here [widomaker.com] and note that it says ENERGY, not INFORMATION.

  • obAuburn Joke (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by dwm ( 151474 )
    Of course, research into "wireless technology" at Auburn mostly involves development of a cattle fence that doesn't use barbed wire...
    • Some needed clarification - Auburn is a land-grant school, this means that it started as an agricultural school.

      (As opposed to my alma mater, The University of Alabama, which is a cultural school)

      • As opposed to my alma mater, The University of Alabama, which is a cultural school.


        That remains to be seen. :-) If cultural is a box of Tide and roll of Charmin, or perhaps lots of crimson and white plaid, then you might be correct.

        Sorry sorry. Glad to see someone who has spend at least some time in the state of Alabama have the common sense to puruse /.

        War Eagle,
        Honig

        (Yes I know all the terms "common sense" and "/." should not be used together.. :-) )
  • I'm still waiting for the REALLY cool stuff, 100% full online non-classroomed university.

    Yes, I'm aware of U. of Phoenix, but the courses they offer are pretty minimal, and definately don't seem like they're going to get you much of a job anywhere (except perhaps the MBA).

    Why can't a good university (Dalhousie? UBC? UCLA-Berkeley?) put out a fully virtualized, 100% online computer science degree? You'd think with the computing luminaries these universities churn out there'd be enough brainpower to overcome whatever technical problems are left to tackle. All the elements are there... streaming video for lectures, standards to deliver homework assignments... what else is needed but professors willing to get with the program, and administration willing to shell out a few bucks with the possibility of getting back much, much more?
  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:29PM (#4172829) Homepage
    So, what, there's never been a degree in radio engineering before?

    I'd go into the huge theory/practice techschool/university debate, but I've finally realized something:

    The truly curious and intelligent will get the theory no matter what, because they want to know and find out. The dull masses will not get the theory even when it's taught to them for four years straight. They're probably better served by a practical course of study (with lots of flashing lights).
  • I got to attend a preview of one of the classes. I was asked to leave over a debate about whether or not two cans held together with a shoestring is a wireless technology. Despite the dictionary's support of my view, it is not classically considered a wireless technology.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:31PM (#4172849)
    I'd hire a plain vanilla degree with good grades and from a competative university any day. In three years the current fads will have changed and only the basics will matter.
    • Yes, but it's hard to consider wireless as a fad, I'm sure we'll be doing it in some form in 50 years. Sure, the tech will change but it has for EE's and others (last time I checked they weren't teaching punch cards anymore).

      -BxT
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:33PM (#4172867) Homepage Journal
    Why is this a distince degree? It would seem to be self limiting, yes?

    "I'm sorry but the job opening is for advanced networking design, I'm afraid that only wireless won't cut it"
  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7 AT cornell DOT edu> on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:35PM (#4172885) Homepage
    This isn't a first, in any way whatsoever.

    Many universities have EE programs that require a concentration. What's a common concentration in such programs? You guessed it, wireless. Even Cornell, which admittedly is not a "strong" school in wireless despite a top-notch EE program since the main physical-layer wireless guy was hired away by Illinois, has a pretty good wireless concentration. (Due to the fact that most of the domain of "wireless" can be covered quite well by the DSP, Information Theory, and the radar people in Space & Plasma Physics, all of which are fields where Cornell is top-notch) All in all, you'll get a much broader exposure to signal theory and RF in general than you would in a "Wireless" degree.

    Whatever this program is, I'm sure it pales in comparison to the EE programs at Georgia Tech and the University of Illinios (They have two of the top wireless programs in the country - It's all under the EE umbrella.) I believe GaTech has an antenna testing range and numerous other facilities that rival that of most corporations in the field.

    If you want to do wireless, go to Georgia Tech or the University of Illinios. I hear Ohio State is pretty good too, as are UCSD and probably Caltech. If you want to go to a wannabe program that won't get you a broad exposure that'll leave you with backup if wireless dries up, go to Auburn.
    • If you want to concentrate very specifically on a field in depth (i.e. wireless), that's what graduate school is for.

      I regret concentrating too much on RF as an undergrad, despite having taken a few courses outside of RF in DSP and information theory.
    • I work for a wireless division of a large network equipment maker and almost all of the guys that do the advanced theory stuff and actually push the design of the next generation products are Phd's in particle or quantum physics, but the engineers who actually design the products are mostly MS and Phd in EE. We are in Ohio, so OSU is where most of our interns come from, and we have worked closely with GeTech for antenna testing and verification, as you said their facilities are better than most corporations.
    • Whatever this program is, I'm sure it pales in comparison to the EE programs at Georgia Tech and the University of Illinios

      So, what's your definition of 'pale'? And what data from both sides of the coin do you have to back this statement up?

      Just asking for clarification...

      -BxT

      • Reputation, quality of program, broadness (Well-rounded engineer with extra knowledge in wireless vs. wireless-only engineer who is screwed if the industry goes tits-up, or gets dragged down by the fact that most of the equipment manufacturers were also involved heavily in optical networking), and facilities.

        If you ask someone "in the industry", i.e. someone who is hiring, which they would rather hire - Either one of these Auburn "wireless" engineers or a GaTech EE that concentrated in wireless, they'll probably say GaTech because of its reputation and the fact that a lot of the major players do large amounts of business with GaTech.
  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:37PM (#4172900) Homepage Journal
    Universities operate in a marketplace. They recognize that students are free to choose from any number of competitors. So they attempt, however slowly and clumsily, to offer degrees that fit the needs and in some cases the demands, of students.

    I'm not a real proponent of specialized degrees, but the world is becoming a very specialized place. I'd also argue it's also getting tougher and tougher to make a living as a generalist, whether coming from a technical or liberal arts background.

    Maybe we ought to take notice of why Auburn offered this degree, and the forces behind it, instead of just running up the, "Back in my day, we all got EE degrees and boy were we thankful!" flag.

    Just my two cents. Feel free to tell me why I'm wrong. After all, I was an International Relations major, so what the fsck do I know about technical degrees?

  • The Task [ogi.edu] is to implement a program that acts as a player in a multi-player robot game. Contributed programs will play against each other in a tournament.

    Sounds a lot like IBM's Robocode [ibm.com] for teaching Java.

  • I've said it before, I'll say it again. You don't go to college to learn about computers. Designers/Artists, maybe. Technical stuff (programming especially), no. You learn it by deciding you want to do something, and doing it. You make mistakes, you learn what you did wrong, you fix it, you learn. This is a process that simply does not happen in college classes, thanks to a whole multitude of reasons/distractions that anyone who has been in college knows. Not to mention the fact that the technology will be dated before the graduates can attempt to apply said instruction.

    I honestly hope this doesn't catch on, else in about 10 years we're going to be flooded with a whole new generation of people with degrees and zero practical knowledge, taking jobs from people who actually know what they are doing, yet have no degree. Joy.

    • The reality is a college degree is practically a necessity. You'd have a very difficult time getting a job with no real work experience unless you did go to college. In college you also work at internships which gains job experience. :)

      • True, (although I did beat the system and get a job with no degree, but anyway), but that doesn't mean I can't bitch about the people coming out of college with no real knowledge of what they are doing. Especially on /. :)
  • Alabamer (Score:5, Funny)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:41PM (#4172930)
    "It's really neat that you can communicate just through the air," Trueblood said in an interview over his cell phone. "Without wires you aren't limited to one specific area. Wherever I go, people can call me. There are a lot of advantages to that."

    With such insightful commentary from Auburn's engineering students, it's no wonder that Alabama is such a hotbed of intellectualism.

    • With such insightful commentary from Auburn's engineering students, it's no wonder that Alabama is such a hotbed of intellectualism.
      Exactly which intellectual hotbed do you live in?

      Auburn University's engineering program is ranked [usnews.com] 63rd. It's business school is ranked [usnews.com] 49th. And ranked [usnews.com] 54th in their doctoral program. Those may not be the highest numbers around, but they are certainly doing okay.

      Additionally, the University of Alabama's Law school is ranked 66th (no link), and their doctoral program is also in the second tier.


      On the non-academic side of things, Alabama is home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center [nasa.gov], and is the location of many industry leading businesses, particularly in steel and construction materials [vulcanmaterials.com]. Mercedes also apparently has enough confidence in the competency of Alabamians (there is a rather large Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa county).

      Now I realize you were just taking a cheap shot to get some quick karma, but I'm rather tired of the stereotype that south = slave-owning rednecks.
    • Re:Alabamer (Score:2, Interesting)

      Maybe I'm biased since I have degrees in math & physics from a prominent Alabama university [uah.edu] specializing in cutting-edge materials science and optics and am currently working on third generation spacecraft... oh, did I mention while living in "Alabamer" and hailing from "Tennduhsee"? And you critics of "Alabamer" are from where exactly? Perhaps that state where even New Yorkers won't live, New Jersey? Or that bastion of good government, Taxachusettes? What exactly have *you* done to advance the human race lately besides post ill-conceived comments to slashdot and burn your karma getting your ever-witty observations modded up to "funny"? Special bonus: +2 to your self-assumed intelligent self if you can actually figure out the source of my nick.
  • correspondence schools have been around for decades and they're wireless!
  • Given the downturn in the telecom industry, are there really that many students eager to focus their area of study exclusively on 3G and 4G wireless? Then again, with a little luck, all the overcapacity might be burned off by the time they graduate, so maybe it's not such a bad idea after all.

  • "It's really neat that you can communicate just through the air," Trueblood said in an interview over his cell phone. "Without wires you aren't limited to one specific area. Wherever I go, people can call me. There are a lot of advantages to that."

    Alot of advantages, yes. Too bad a rewarding job isn't one of them.

    Seriously, I thought highly specialized technical degrees were becoming ever useless. As the dot.com bubble burst, and tech stocks swirl the toilet bowl, aren't employers looking for more versitile, well-rounded employees that can innovate?

    The liberal arts background of this program bothers me. I've always believed that the focus in engineering and comp. sci should be in a solid understanding of math and science (esp. physics).

    What do they learn? The physics of electromagnitism and how signals propogate? Network topologies? How to calculate Sprints latest cellular payment plan? The article is weak on details.

    I'm all for higher education, but this reeks of an industry-bought program designed to churn out tech support seatwarmers.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @04:51PM (#4172995) Homepage
    Wireless 101
    • Week one - selecting a cell phone
    • Week two - picking a payment plan
    • Week three - making calls
    • Week four - receiving calls.
    • Week five - using the phone directory
    • Week six - sending text messages
    • Week seven - roaming
    • Week eight - additional phone features
    • Week nine - final exam
    • Wireless 102
      • Week one - Unlocking a GSM phone for any network.
      • Week two - Copying a Sim card
      • Week three - Unlocking more data channels for increased speed
      • Week four - metered bandwidth and ways around it
      • week five - connecting with IR or Bluetooth under linux
      • week six - using customer support to avoid charges (churn!)
      • week seven - buying phones off ebay
      • week eight - downloading unlicensed ringtones
      • week nine - cyber sex with 1 thumb typing.

  • I am assuming from reading the article (*gasp*, yes I read it) and the comments that this is basically a EE degree with a high degree of specialization.

    My Computer Engineering degree from Auburn is similar. Where at most schools, Computer Engineering is a EE with a specialization in Computer Science, at Auburn it is essentially a CS degree with a EE minor. I had to take the basic engineering courses, the bulk of the CS major courses, and the EE courses in digital electronics and computers. I thought (and still think) this combination is cool, but I found out later (when looking at graduate school) that it is kind of screwy. Basically, my credits didn't qualify me for admission to masters programs in CSE/EE in most schools without taking a few more undergraduate classes in analog electronics/powers/etc.

    People taking the wireless major may have the same problem, but you can probably take most of the wireless classes as tech electives in a EE program and have the same result with a "standard" engineering degree.

    As to why they did it, they wanted the money...

  • This continuing trend to greater specialization is killing our ability to innovate. Different specialists can never communicate well enough to replace a multi-disciplined individual. Teamwork can only go so far. There is no substitute for knowing it all.
    • Some people aren't smart enough or motivated enough to know it all, or to figure it out. For those people, there are specialized degrees. For those who are, there are multiple degrees.

      And finally, for those of us who are seriously lazy, there are two year degrees.

    • This continuing trend to greater specialization is killing our ability to innovate.

      Actually, I think many people would argue just the opposite- if everyone tries to learn everyone no one will have the wall-clock time to master any one field. It's the same reason why some people specialize in Unix / Mac / Windows. Just, as things get more involved you have to dig into deeper and deeper specializations.

      -BxT

  • by EvlG ( 24576 ) on Friday August 30, 2002 @05:13PM (#4173148)
    For those interested, The University of Texas at Dallas offers a similar degree program called Telecommunications Engineering. Its scope is a bit broader than just wireless.

    Check out UTD's page about the program [utdallas.edu] for more information.
  • ...is the tightness of focus. There's a LOT more to RF than just digital wireless networking devices, cellphones, etc.

    I would hope that the college will include solid background material in RF circuit basics (oscillators, modulation techniques for both digital and analog, power amps, basic antenna theory and practice, receivers and demodulation, etc.) as well as the material on networking.

    Failing that, I would hope that they at least encourage the kids to get their ham radio tickets, and to be experimenters. That'll at least get them some hands-on.

    (Yes, I'm biased, I admit it. Don't ask about my plate voltage). ;-)

  • Havn't we had 'radio engenering' for like decades?
  • This degree is meaningless to me unless I can take it in online courses via GPRS and/or 802.11b.
  • Ok, who knows what I'm talking about?
  • As a resident of the state of Alabama, I'm greatly appalled that one of our major schools is actually offering something like this. I mean, this is like, progressive or something....

    Actually, in reality, this is nice and all, but I agree with most other people in this post: it's rather worthless because it's too specific and based on the current trend. Sounds like AU just wanted to get some national recongition for something else besides football and their upcoming SACS accreditation review.

    Basically, all this really means is that the best engineering school in the state is the one in my backyard, UAH.
  • Upgrade path: they cut the string between the tin cans.
    "Heyyyyy Bubba, y'all got'cher ears on? Come on. Over."
    shweeeee Convoy!
  • This makes as much sense as moving the computer science school into the college of engineering...
    • Hmmm...you don't know Auburn all that well then do you? The Dept of Computer Science there has been administered by th College of Engineering for many many years (maybe I should say, the "Samuel Ginn College of Engineering" (that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth) since they sold naming rights to the school to the highest bidding Alumn. Oh well...still a good school despite the ugly name change.

      shaldannon
      Graduate, Auburn University, '00 CS
  • If I remember correctly isn't Auburn the college that just fired a professor for stating in class that all the hijackers on 911 Arab. Why would you want to go to a school that fires teahcer for stating the truth.
    • sorry I'm doing several things, and I'm on drugs, from surgery maybe I should type a little slower...Isn't Aubrun the College that just fired a Professor for stating that all of the 9/11 hijackers were Arab. Who would want to go to a college that fires professors for stating the truth.
      • I'm an AU grad, but I hadn't heard of this. However, if you don't like that, maybe you'd like attending the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) where it is now mandatory for freshmen to study the Koran and write (positive) reviews about what they read.
  • this is kind of hokey. It's more like a trade than a degree.
    3G? You mean cellular services? So they are offering a degree in cellular?

    Degree has ceased to mean what it used to mean in America.
  • "Auburn University in Alabama will become the first school in the country to offer a four-year bachelor's degree in the study of wireless technology this fall.
    Wireless technology is at least 105 years old, and there have been degrees relating to it for at least 40 years.

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