Where will you be in 3 to 5 years?

Get Back on Track with a MS in Project Management

Where will you be in 3 to 5 years?  If you have an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer networking or computer engineering you might be building networks and computers, or coding programs.  And, while you might find the work satisfying, you might be starting to wonder if there is something more; something with more responsibility and a higher salary.  Because, often times, even the very best programmers can find themselves stuck in a rut if they lack the managerial and project management skills they need to advance in their careers.

Undergraduate programs in technology don’t always provide basic managerial and project management training.  But, today’s project managers must learn how to manage people (team members and stakeholders), deliver projects on-time and within the constraints of a budget, which are skills that take time and experience to develop.

The discipline of project management teaches how to manage the triple constraints of scope, time and cost.  Project managers work collaboratively with their team and give them the vision of the project’s intended final outcome.  A project manager leads with a common project vision and empowers and assists their project teams, in order to make each team as effective as possible.

Could this be you? If you are ready to advance in your career, and you would like to develop skills that will complement your technical knowledge and experience, you might want to consider an advanced degree in project management. At Wentworth, our program includes courses  that are especially well-suited to those in a technology environment including Global and Virtual Project Management, Troubled Projects, Agile Project Management and Managing ERP systems.  Wentworth is proud to offer one of the only Master’s of Science in Project Management degrees with a strategic focus, which is strongly recommended by the Project Management Institute (PMI.)

Don’t wonder if there’s something more; do something about it, today.  And be sure to check back here in the coming weeks for a list of the 7 most important qualities you should look for in a Project Management degree program.


Hollis Greenberg, PMP, CSM is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology.




How do you revolutionize building design and construction?

As a leader in education for the built environment, Wentworth Institute of Technology is on the leading edge of building innovation. We recently asked professor John Cribbs to share his thoughts on a significant innovation, Building Information Modeling, or BIM, which promises to revolutionize the ways buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained. 

 What is BIM?

Productivity in the construction industry is declining due, in part, to the continued reliance on traditional design and fabrication information typically found in two-dimensional drawings. While various sectors of the manufacturing industry have adopted the use of digital models for product design and fabrication, the construction industry is still heavily reliant on people, rather than computers, to read and interpret important data. In response to this, the AEC industry is becoming increasingly focused on Building Information Modeling, or BIM. Alternately defined as a process and as a digital object model, BIM is changing the way those in the construction industry understand and visualize a building from planning through final use, ultimately, improving productivity.

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) defines BIM as: a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such, it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable base for decisions during its life cycle.” Put another way, BIM describes tools, processes and technologies, that are facilitated by machine-readable documentation about a building, its performance, planning, construction and operation. Together, these varied parts create a Building Information Model, or interactive representation of a facility as it is designed or exists. Unlike traditional, 2d CAD drawings, and more advanced 3d CAD drawings, BIM combines the 3d CAD models with all the information required for designing, building and maintaining a facility.

The BIM Landscape

A shortage of skilled labor, along with shifts in supply-chain management and declining productivity have created a unique landscape for the growth of BIM in the AEC industry.  A recent study by McGraw Hill Smart Market Report, indicates that several factors, including the retirement of baby boomers, recession, and inadequate training for incoming workers have contributed to a significant labor shortage especially among specialty trade contractors, such as HVAC and the electrical trades. A similar study by the NIBS found that by the year 2020, the US will experience a shortage of nearly 1 million engineers.

At the same time, an increase in the use of technology in place of manual labor, greater process enhancement and project complexity have shifted traditional approaches to AEC supply chain management. Together with declining productivity, and the lasting impacts of the financial downturn of 2008, these changes have led to shifts in project management. Some in the industry have responded by reverting back to more traditional practices, relying on basic design, bid and build to win projects and recoup losses, while others have innovated new approaches to push the envelope in integrated knowledge-based project delivery. The purpose of this approach is to realize significant gains through shared expertise and knowledge, as well as the successful delivery of a project under budget and on an expedited schedule.

With the emergence of integrated teams, delivery methods for design and construction of facilities and supply-chain management techniques has come the growth of more transparent design and construction documentation methods, like BIM, which has been adopted at different rates throughout the AEC industry and building lifecycle.

The future of BIM

At Wentworth, the Miles and Eugenia Sweeney Department of Construction Management is committed to promoting these proven technologies through the introduction of a new physical lab/classroom space dedicated to integrated and interdisciplinary technology solutions. The new Bond Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Lab at Wentworth will provide students–from undergraduates, to part-time students, to corporate training partners–with access to state-of-the-art technology and expose them to tools and processes which are becoming AEC industry standard (many of which are BIM-centric). The lab offers a unique setting for cross-disciplinary education and is meant to foster a collaborative learning process which engages multiple academic departments as well as industry partners.

In the Bond Virtual Design and Construction Lab, students can expect to:

  • Experience how project teams and various disciplines understand and visualize building and infrastructure projects through the engagement of BIM;
  • Get hands-on training in various software tools to manage information used in the design, construction, scheduling, and budgeting processes which directly impact overall project outcomes;
  • Learn how to visually understand a project in multiple dimensions or phases with different objectives;
  • Develop the skills needed to advance in a successful career in the AEC industry.

Technology offers another layer in which to understand a building or infrastructure. The appropriate use of technology has been shown to save time and money, enhance stakeholder collaboration/communication, and create better overall project outcomes when compared with more traditional methods. As the AEC industry begins to adopt and embrace these innovative approaches to designing, constructing, and operating/maintaining our built environment, we challenge our students, and partners, to do the same.

About the Author:

Dr. John Cribbs is an Assistant Professor of Construction Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Dr. Cribbs earned his PhD in Construction Management from the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. His research focused on Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows for enhanced quality control and labor time utilization for coordinated MEP and specialty trade equipment, from design-to-install, in retrofit environments. Before joining Wentworth, Dr. Cribbs served as a Principal at Green Ideas Building Science Consultants, based in Phoenix.

McGraw-Hill (2012). Construction Industry Workforce Shortages: Role of Certification, Training and Green Jobs in Filling the Gaps. SmartMarket Report.
ANSI (2007). National Building Information Modeling Standard. NBim, 180.

How Can I Tell if Online Learning is Right for Me?

As noted in Part One of this series, a growing number of colleges and universities are adding online learning opportunities to their course offerings, especially for part-time students. In addition, more and more students are turning to online learning as a way to fit their educational goals into their busy, professional lives.

For many online students, job and employment goals play an important role in their decision to pursue online learning opportunities. Seventy-three percent of online students reported that job and employment goals are the most important reasons for enrolling in an online program, according to this 2018 survey published by Best Colleges.com

Whether they are “Industry Switchers,” students transitioning to a new career (35%), or “Career Accelerators,” students who want to strengthen their professional skills and credentials (30%), students report that online learning offers them the best opportunity to advance their career on a schedule that fits their lifestyle.

But is online learning right for everyone? In this post we will look at some characteristics of online learners to help you determine whether an online learning environment is the right choice for you.

Characteristics of Online Students:

Depending on the format of the online program, students who interact and participate in an online learning environment require a different set of characteristics and study habits to ensure academic success than their counterparts in a more traditional, classroom-based environment.

To see if you have what it takes, ask yourself these questions:

Am I self-disciplined and self-motivated?

Unlike a classroom-based environment in which the instructor meets with students once or multiple times a week, most of the learning activities and communication in an online course are asynchronous, or self-paced. Students can participate and complete online assignments without any time or place constraints. In an online learning environment, consequently, it is possible for students to complete their course work at a time and place that is convenient for them.

However, with increased flexibility comes greater responsibility. Without the structure of the traditional classroom environment, online learners must be disciplined and self-motivated to keep up with the pace of the online course and complete all assignments on time.

Am I able to commit and set aside time each week for my online course(s)?

Online courses often require at least as much, if not more, time and commitment than classroom-based courses. Online courses, on average, require 10 to 12 hours of time per week for a three-credit course. While there is greater flexibility around when to complete an assignment within a given week, there is rarely time to procrastinate in an online learning environment. Before enrolling in an online program, make sure you can set aside enough time each week to keep up with your assignments.

Do I have good communications and writing skills?

In online courses, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing to the instructor and your classmates. Find out how much writing is required and consider ways to improve your writing skills, such as working with a tutor, if necessary, before enrolling in an online course.

Will I miss the interactions of the classroom experience?

Depending on the course, the level of interaction between the student and instructor can vary in the online learning environment.  Online learning is often supported by a Learning Management System (LMS). Depending on the LMS students will have a number of tools to engage and communicate with their instructor and classmates such as threaded discussions, email, and web meetings. Before the start of the course, refer to the syllabus to determine the instructor’s expectations regarding participation and assignment guidelines. The carefully consider whether the tools available suit your interaction style and will help you meet the instructor’s expectations.

Am I comfortable using a computer?

Regular access to a reliable computer and internet connection is essential for any online learning program. You do not need to be a computer guru to be successful, however, you do need to have some basic technology skills, such as word processing, using a web browser, and downloading and installing software or hardware needed to meet the course requirements. Additionally, you should be comfortable navigating the LMS, uploading files for assignments, and participating in online discussions which are a significant part of the online learning experience.

After reflecting on your answers to these questions, you should be able to determine if an online learning environment is right for you. Keep in mind that while the online learning environment provides a number of advantages and is becoming increasingly popular among colleges and universities as well as employers, your own learning preferences and lifestyles should determine the ideal learning environment for you. If you are self-disciplined, have strong written communication skills, can set aside a sufficient amount of time each week and are comfortable using a computer and interacting with peers online, then an online learning environment might just be right for you. If so, why not give it a try?

About the Author

Ke’Anna Skipwith is the Director of Online Learning in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a MS in Learning Technologies from Drexel University and is pursuing her Ed.D at Northeastern University in Higher Education Administration. She is a member of EDUCAUSE and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Ke’Anna is also the co-author of the book: Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (2017).


BestColleges.com. (2018). Annual Trends in Online Education.

https://www.bestcolleges.com/perspectives/annual-trends-in-online-education/ Accessed April 26, 2018.

Let’s Be Honest: Why Does Online Learning Matter?

More and more, colleges and universities are moving away from traditional, classroom-based learning models to more convenient and affordable online offerings. According to a recent study, distance—or online—learning in the United States has seen a steady increase over the last 5 years, while on-campus class attendance has decreased by 6.4 percent. And given the advantages of online learning, for both students and colleges and universities, the trend is likely to continue.

To review the Babson Survey Research Group report, “Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States” visit: https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/highered.html

What does that mean for students? In this post we will look at what online learning is, how it works and the benefits it offers learners and, in particular, part-time, working adults. Next week, we will look at whether or not online learning is right for you.

What is Online Learning?

Let’s face it; there is no formal definition of online learning. The evolving landscape of online learning is a contemporary form of e-learning where students engage with course content via the internet. Online learning offers meaningful learning experiences using a wide variety of teaching formats including fully online, in which all activities are online, hybrid/blended, combining online and classroom learning, asynchronous or self-paced learning, and synchronous, or real-time group learning (see chart).

Course content and learning activities are provided online through a Learning Management System (LMS) which is easily accessed by both instructors and students. Because online and hybrid courses are available via the internet, they are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and  provide opportunities for innovative and practical experiences where students can apply their knowledge and skills.

What are the benefits of online learning?

Whether students are engaged in group or self-paced activities, online or a combination of online and classroom instruction, new and often innovative learning experiences take place. Online learning allows students various ways to communicate and process information from a variety of sources including the internet, web resources, and the learning community created within the LMS.

There are numerous benefits to learning in an online environment:

    • Convenience: Students have the opportunity to learn from anywhere and at any time. Online course materials are easily accessed and can be downloaded from the LMS allowing students to create a schedule and select a location that fits their needs.


    • Confidence Participating in online courses can be less intimidating for some students than in a face-to-face environment. Students who may be shy are much more likely to participate in an online course environment. This produces a greater diversity of opinion and shared perspectives as well as creates an engaging student learning experience.


    • Credits: Today, many colleges and universities are accepting transfer credits for online courses. Depending on the program, students may be eligible to transfer in college credit and complete their online degree faster.


    • Cost Effective: Online learning is less expensive than traditional classroom-based courses. Students who work either full time or go to school part time would not have to take time off or waste time commuting to campus. This allows students to be committed to their learning without having to worry about missing a class.


    • Communication: Online learning makes is easier for students to reach out to their instructors with questions, support and feedback. Students can connect with their instructors in a variety of ways such as through online discussion forums, email, or by scheduling a web meeting or phone call.


    • Career focused: Employers are seeking more online learning opportunities to help employees develop new skills, provide new career paths for professional growth and advancement. Students would have the opportunity to take online courses that allows them to be remain competitive and improve their job performance.


Simply put, online learning is a win-win for everyone. For colleges and universities, it presents the opportunity to offer new and innovative learning experiences to more and more students. For students, and in particular, part-time students trying to balance work and family, it opens the door to the education and training they need to reach their personal and professional goals. And for employers, it provides a steady stream of well-trained and educated employees to fill much needed positions.

With all of that going for it, online learning is sure to continue to grow and will likely be the wave of the future in higher education.

 Next week, we will discuss ways to determine if an online learning environment is the right choice for you.

About the Author

Ke’Anna Skipwith is the Director of Online Learning in the College of Professional and Continuing Education at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a MS in Learning Technologies from Drexel University and is pursuing her Ed.D at Northeastern University in Higher Education Administration. She is a member of EDUCAUSE and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Ke’Anna is also the co-author of the book: Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners Through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (2017).