MODEM is to exploit new technologies in simulation-assisted learning, co-authoring and flexible delivery to help higher education deliver the high-tech graduate skills now critical to the competitivity of the EU micro-electronics industry. Its specific plans include the training of lecturers in multimedia courseware development, and the verification of integrated MODEM facilities and evaluation of multimedia tools for teaching students in science and engineering. This target group will be broadened in a follow-up project to include high-tech companies and prepare for the eventual launch of a self-sustaining micro-electronics educational service.
The pervasivness of microelectronics and advanced silicon semiconductor technology is increasingly recognised across a wide range of industries. In sectors such as food, electronics, computers etc., the ability to exploit advances in microelectronics will be the key to many future market opportunities. The semiconductor industry will therefore play a critical role in shaping the future of European industry. In addition to the impact on other industries, the microelectronics industry in its own right has significant potential. Today, semiconductors are a $63 billion world market and are critical to the $751 billion world market for electronic systems [American Electronics Association]. By the year 2000, world semiconductor sales are expected to rise to $200 billion and the world electronics industry to $2 trillion [Dataquest incorporated, Semiconductor industry Service]. As a result of the rapid expansion in the semiconductor market, European industrial investment in new integrated circuit fabrication factories during the past three years was 2.3 billion ECU. However, to remain competitive, Europe must ensure access to an educated workforce in key enabling technologies such as materials design, device physics, ULSI processing and circuit design.
The MODEM project is focused on exploiting new and emerging technologies in the areas of simulation assisted learning, co-authoring and flexible delivery to enhance the contribution of the higher educational sector to addressing the skills shortage in the microelectronics industry. The project's strategic approach is based on exploiting new technologies in the areas of simulation assisted learning using commercial microelectronics modelling codes, co-authoring/pick and mix utilising a custom Lotus Notes software and flexible delivery utilising Euro ISDN as a multipoint distributer and the Internet for courseware delivery and course support. Key specific project objectives include:
- Training of tertiary level lecturers in multi-media courseware development using standard software tools such as Director/Lingo.
- Development of courseware pick and mix facility based on LOTUS NOTES
- Development of a computer simulation learner environment around a microelectronics modelling software package "Virtual Wafer Fab"
- Verification of "remote" simulation assisted learning using above environment through incorporation in standard courses at partner sites.
- Verification of co-authoring through co-authoring of new modules on VLSI design and advanced materials characterisation at partner sites.
- Verification of integrated MODEM facilities for tele-teaching of engineering and science students.
- Evaluation of multimedia based tools for teaching of engineering and science undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The target user groups are engineering and science undergraduate and postgraduate students in tertiary-level institutions. This will be broadened to both high technology SME's and major electronics companies in a follow on service orientated project. Indeed, the ultimate objective of the project is to prepare for the launch of a self sustaining microelectronics educational service. MODEM is supported by major microelectronics companies in Europe such as SGS-THOMSON and PHILIPS who will participate in both the project definition and evaluation phases of the project.
The MODEM consortium involves partners from five EC member states (Ireland, France, Denmark, UK and The Netherlands). The validation phase of the project involves an EU wide network of 20 universities that provide tertiary education in advanced materials and microelectronics. The project is of strategic importance to the competitiveness of the European microelectronics industry as this industry is critically dependant on an educated workforce. The project therefore contributes towards a key EU policy, namely; "promotion of the competitiveness of European industry" by directly responding to the current shortage of skilled personnel in the microelectronics industry through the improvement of the higher education capability in this sector.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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