As engineering becomes more and more specialized, both the faculty resources and number of interested students become limited. Consequently, very frequently highly specialized graduate courses are not offered, especially in disciplines like Materials with small faculty and enrollment. NSF's International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass (IMI-NFG) has successfully addressed this problem by successfully introducing the concept of multi-institution team teaching (MITT). It brings together via internet both the expert professors and students from many universities. By pooling the talent of various instructors, the courses become technically stronger and students learn advanced topics that would be available otherwise. As an example, a recent MITT course included instructors from 10 US institutions, and students from many more US and international universities.
Software such as ‘Adobe Connect’ is used for the live delivery of lectures, wherein students can see the instructor and Power Point slides as in a normal classroom. The students may ask questions any time during the lecture, and the instructor would respond immediately. They register and pay tuition at their home institution, so that no exchange of funds is involved between universities. Survey results support that a majority of the enrolled students liked the format and delivery of the course, and more than 75% students felt that multiple instructors, who “taught information of their expertise”, made the course stronger. In conclusion, the concept of MITT has been successfully demonstrated for teaching highly specialized graduate courses.