A student raises his hand with a question about the morning’s engineering lecture. UC Irvine professor Marc Madou looks toward a TV screen and calls on the student, who’s sitting in a classroom in Monterrey, Mexico.
With video teleconferencing technology in UCI’s Teaching, Learning & Technology Center, Madou can teach students in Irvine and Monterrey simultaneously. About 35 Tecnológico de Monterrey students join their UCI peers virtually for the class.
“In today’s world, scientists and engineers compete globally and must learn about different cultures to succeed,” says Madou, Chancellor’s Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, who taught two teleconference courses this winter.
“It’s my pleasure to work with very dedicated professors and bright, eager students at Tecnológico de Monterrey,” Madou says. “I can see us soon expanding this program to one or two more schools in Mexico.”
Video teleconferencing of engineering lectures began in 2007, but this is the first year Monterrey students can attend entire classes and receive credit.
Tecnológico de Monterrey, a private university with 32 campuses in Mexico, partnered with UCI’s mechanical & aerospace engineering Department to fund 40 broadcasts this year.
“We want to attract the most talented students and put them in contact with renowned experts such as Madou,” says Sergio O. Martínez, director of Tecnológico de Monterrey’s electrical engineering department.
The universities have a history of partnership. In 2005, Madou and Martínez formed the UC Irvine-Tecnológico de Monterrey Alliance for Micro/Nanotechnology-Based Entrepreneurship – an academic, research and business collaboration that includes the development of start-up companies based on joint studies. Seven professors and seven graduate students from both institutions are working together on four research projects.
Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte, a mechanical engineering doctoral student who came to UCI after earning his bachelor’s from Tecnológico de Monterrey, helped establish the alliance and serves as its coordinator.
“It’s a big deal for students in Mexico to take engineering courses from a teacher like Professor Madou, whose microfabrication textbook is considered by many to be the most important in its field,” he says. “Six years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined being able to use technology like this. Now you feel as if you’re in the same classroom with students far away from you.”