Em-636 Engineering Project Management: Welcome Letter

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EM-636 Engineering Project Management: Welcome Letter

Dear Student:

Welcome to EM-636 Project Management!!

Did you know that CNN Money Magazine has named Project Management one of the top 10 skills needed? “Just about all companies need tech savvy people who are great managers," says Houston tech recruiter Linda Ranostaj. So I am delighted to have this opportunity to interact with you and help share the knowledge and experiences of project management. I hope you will learn much, and find some useful processes and tools that will make your job easier.

My Background

Since I will be asking each of you to post a brief bio of yourself to the course bulletin board, it only seems fair that I tell you something about myself as well. I received both a BS and MS in Engineering Science from NJIT and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from George Washington University. I obtained most of my corporate experiences at Bell Laboratories, where I spent most of the first half of my career working on defense projects for the US Navy, designing underwater systems to track Russian submarines. I later managed wireless communications projects ranging from 5-year multi-million dollar contracts with strict government controls, to 1-year $500,000 projects that were run more informally, so I’ve seen the full spectrum of project management rigor. After 20 years I left the corporate world and for the past 10 years have been employed as an independent consultant and trainer, teaching for Boston University, Pace University, NJIT, and other independent training organizations. I also hold the concurrent position of VP of Professional Development and Training for the Project Management Institute (PMI) of New Jersey. So as you can see, I am very interesting in teaching and sharing the experiences of project management.

Course Description

The course can be accessed by going to http://moodle.njit.edu and logging in with your UCID. This is a distance-learning course, hence this is a virtual classroom set up. Although it is possible to review lectures on your own schedule, this is a rigorous course that follows the material taught in a typical structured classroom and you must keep up with the lecture schedule. I will post lecture notes, and you will have an opportunity to apply the learnings through the homework assignments which are due weekly on specific dates. So this is not a course that you can just “do in your spare time.” There will also be midterm and final exams.
For most of the class you will be working in groups on an assigned project and provide one submission per team. Since this is a distance-learning class, you will have to interact with your team members using various online communications media. While at first you may find it difficult to work as a team in this way, it is very common in today’s business for teams to be geographically dispersed. So it is not just the information content of this course that will be useful, but all the skills that you will hopefully acquire in learning how to work as an effective team in a virtual environment.
All students will need to participate actively in these group assignments, as you will be graded on your participation and more importantly your teammates will depend on you. If this type of environment is not something you are comfortable with, this may not be the right course for you. It requires being pro-active, participative, and is labor intensive.
I will also hold a weekly chat session in the evening (day/time is subject to change.) During the chat sessions I will review key points from that week’s lecture and answer any questions you may have. These sessions are for your benefit and will be much more helpful for you if you read that week’s lecture in advance of the chat.
Your semester grade will be based as follows: 10% participation, 30% homework, 30% midterm, 30% final.
Course Materials

Only one text is required for this class. The course is organized to follow closely the “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” (aka The PMBOK) Fourth Edition, and is the ANSI standard for Project Management. By following this text, anyone using this course as a preparation for PMP Certification will have an excellent head start. There will be suggested reading assignments from “Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling,” by Harold Kerzner 10th edition which will help with your understanding. This is an advanced text that is useful for both new and seasoned project managers to help augment the learnings of the lectures, but it is not a required text for the course. The PMBOK however is required.

As mentioned in the course profile, you will also need some software to be able to view powerpoint files, and it will be helpful to have MS Word, MS Excel, or MS PowerPoint in order to submit homework.

You will also need to get a Skype ID (www.skype.com) to participate in online chats.

Your Background

As an aid to helping me form the teams, and allowing you to all get to know each other a bit better, I will request each individual to post a brief synopsis of yourself to the “All About Me” Forum which can be found on the course Moodle page.
A final word – there is a link on the course home page which is for the NJIT Academic Honor Code. I expect each of you to abide by that code and demonstrate professionalism and personal integrity in all aspects of the course – including, but not limited to, homework, exams, and class interactions.
I look forward to meeting you all and spending a fun and informative semester together!
Ava Heuer, PMP

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