Department of Engineering / News / Cambridge Advance Online - short online courses for professionals taught by University of Cambridge academics

Department of Engineering

Cambridge Advance Online - short online courses for professionals taught by University of Cambridge academics

Cambridge Advance Online - short online courses for professionals taught by University of Cambridge academics

Cambridge Advance Online, is a new venture between the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Press and Assessment. The venture offers short online courses for professionals, all taught by University of Cambridge academics, sharing something of the unique experience of studying in Cambridge with a much wider audience.

A lot of current leading-edge technologies, including much of the zero-carbon agenda, require control-engineering thinking and methods. I know that most engineering courses don’t emphasise control much, so I thought that there must be a pool of graduate engineers out there who need to learn about control engineering.

Jan Maciejowski

The Cambridge Advance Online courses are fully online and offer a flexible way to fit learning around your life. They feature the latest in learning design theory and best-in-class learning technology, with a focus on real-world applications. Each learning journey offers a balance of academic-led seminars, collaboration with peer learners and individual study to challenge and support you in achieving your learning objectives.

Several of the courses are led by academics from the Department of Engineering. We asked them why they feel courses like these are needed and what motivated them to create the course.

Intercultural Communication for Global Business
Led by Kasia Lanucha

"Intercultural competence promotes openness and empathy in general, not only when interacting with individuals from other countries, but also any other human beings who, by default, are very different from us. Trying to understand the other person through the lens of their values, just like we do when looking at national differences, is something that can help us becoming more accommodating and effective in communication, both in an occupational and personal sphere (and across every cultural layer).

"International companies have always been working remotely across different countries and time zones. But the pandemic has changed a lot. Suddenly, it was no longer possible to travel and all communication had to be moved online and online is here to stay. Every communication is vulnerable online, let alone between people with different interaction and working practices. Communication is more transactional, more formal and more effort needs to be made to build relationships, especially with new people. A new study has revealed that we are much quicker to judge others, and more likely to stereotype when working remotely. Unable to bring people together for intercultural training, there’s been a lot of focus on effective online communication and remote team building training."

Creativity, Problem Solving and Design Thinking
Led by Nathan Crilly

"Individuals, organisations and communities face critical challenges that will require creative solutions. This includes challenges surrounding technology, health, society and the environment. Identifying, defining and reframing problems will be essential, as will exploring solution possibilities and then selecting and implementing those. There are a range of perspectives that are useful in this, including design thinking. There are also general processes for creative problem solving and specific tools that can be used in that process. Unfortunately, many people’s education has not emphasised these practices, and this course is an opportunity for learners to address this. They can develop their knowledge and confidence, and also their ability to represent their skills and experiences to others.

"Skills related to creativity, problem solving and design thinking have been increasingly recognised as critical, and critical to a wide range of sectors and across all levels. As such, the course was developed with a wide range of people in mind. The key thing is to be open to the variety of perspectives and approaches that are useful for undertaking creative work. There are research studies demonstrating the effectiveness of general approaches to creativity training and also the effectiveness of specific creative methods. So, we can use those studies as the basis for what students will have the opportunity to trial, but they can then select from and combine those approaches in their own work, in ways that suit them and the contexts they operate in."

Levergaing Big Data for Business Intelligence
Led by Russell Hunter

"When I first started my PhD, I was thrown in at the deep-end of a very complex interdisciplinary project. My undergraduate was in Mathematics with Computer Science and although Computational Neuroscience is effectively just building lots of models and simulating them using computers, there was a lot of neurobiology that I didn’t know, in fact, all of it. I enjoyed reading papers and getting deeper into the detail and trying to solve problems in an engineering style, running simulations and iterating the process and linking it back to the reading. Within every research role, effectively I have been the product leader, data scientist, designer and engineer. In my current role, I have had a lot of freedom to effectively carry out this kind of role and gained great success and I feel that giving strategic thinkers, like product owners, the technical skills and awareness would be something that would be beneficial in this heavily data-driven focussed industry."

Product-Technology Roadmapping
Led by Imoh Ilevbare and Rob Phaal

"Roadmapping is a powerful and flexible method that emerged in US high tech sectors more than 50 years ago. However, the method has been largely ignored in mainstream business school research and teaching. The motivation for this course was to more widely disseminate the concept and practice of roadmapping, building on more than 20 years of industrially engaged research.

"We are facing significant global challenges in the 21st century, such as global warming, pandemics and digital transformation. Tackling such challenges requires system-level approaches that integrate perspectives from many functions and stakeholder groups. Roadmapping is an ideal method for such challenges, as an accessible action-oriented strategic planning tool."

Control Engineering
Led by Jan Maciejowski

"A lot of current leading-edge technologies, including much of the zero-carbon agenda, require control-engineering thinking and methods. I know that most engineering courses don’t emphasise control much, so I thought that there must be a pool of graduate engineers out there who need to learn about control engineering."

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