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"When teaching Systems Engineering and Six-Sigma for the Design and Operation of Reliable Systems to M.Eng. students, Oliver Gao finds it rewarding "to see students applying the skills and tools learnt from my class to improving the products and/or services that they work on."
"The concepts and practices covered in the class are very valuable and fit very well with systems engineering, especially in companies like Lockheed Martin," wrote one of Gao's distance learning students. "This is one of the reasons for taking this course and I highly recommend this for other students looking to specialize in SYSENG or work for a defense contractor."
It's not easy to teach to distance-learning and on-campus students simultaneously, says Gao, but having practicing engineers in the class is beneficial. "Having both on-campus and distance learning students in one class is challenging," he says. "However, having a mix of such students helps greatly with the six-sigma blackbelt project, which emphasizes the real-world context and applicability."
Gao likes to take on the perspective of his students when preparing his classes. "What do they expect from a systems engineering course?" he says. "Knowledge, skills, and solid tools that they can use in their future career."