SEAS launching 13 technology courses online

Subjects include blockchain technology, energy, collaborative robot safety and computer vision

Robot from Buffalo Manufacturing Works is used in a new MOOC produced by TCIE

Part of the team behind the Introduction to Collaborative Robot Safety Course was on site at Buffalo Manufacturing Works to record content, which featured a collaborative robot from California-based Precise Automation. From left: Amy Moore, TCIE project manager; Haley Ritterhern, Precise Automation applications engineer; and Brian Carlisle, Precise Automation CEO and co-founder.  

by Tracy Puckett

Published May 9, 2018

The UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is ramping up its presence on the world’s largest educational platform by releasing online courses about today’s hottest technology topics.

“The fast pace of our economy is increasing the demand for shorter certificate programs that equip learners with key knowledge and rapidly increase their skills.”
Timothy Leyh, executive director

Thirteen massive open online courses (MOOCs) will launch on Coursera between spring and summer. Subjects include blockchain technology, energy, collaborative robot safety and computer vision.

Coursera partners with 150 universities to reach 25 million registered users who crave flexible learning opportunities. Courses are available 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection.

“Broadening education by making it available to people all over the world is a powerful concept,” said Liesl Folks, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Folks commented on the exciting opportunities afforded by MOOCs, saying they are a bridge to impacting new audiences. They also provide an avenue for traditional degree-granting universities to bestow certificates.

“The fast pace of our economy is increasing the demand for shorter certificate programs that equip learners with key knowledge and rapidly increase their skills,” explained UB Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) Executive Director Timothy Leyh.

TCIE, the business outreach arm of SEAS, is managing course development. Content comes in the form of video lectures, complemented by reading materials, assessments, project work and peer interaction.

New courses include:

Blockchain Specialization: Available now

A group of four courses, this specialization introduces foundational concepts of the revolutionary blockchain technology, which enables peer-to-peer transfer of digital assets without any intermediaries. It prepares learners to program on the Ethereum blockchain, design and implement smart contracts, and develop decentralized applications. Topics range from the cryptographic underpinnings of blockchain technology to enabling decentralized applications on a private Ethereum blockchain platform.

Course facilitator is Bina Ramamurthy, UB computer science and engineering teaching professor.

Energy Industry Fundamentals Specialization: available in June

A group of four courses, this specialization provides introductory knowledge about the energy industry and affiliated career opportunities, from technical, hands-on field positions to roles in the emerging green energy sector. Learners receive an overview of the energy industry, electric power systems, natural gas and safety. Course development is in collaboration with industry partner National Grid.

Course facilitators are: Martin K. Casstevens, business formation and commercialization manager for UB’s Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships and executive director of Directed Energy; Ilya Grinberg, SUNY Buffalo State engineering technology professor; Tom Russo, president of Russo on Energy LLC; and Richard A. Stempniak, SUNY Buffalo State associate professor of engineering technology. 

Introduction to Collaborative Robot (Cobot) Safety Course: available in June

This course examines the safety and complexity of integrated manufacturing systems and automation processes throughout production, maintenance, commissioning and de-commissioning that can result in injury. Its intention is to increase awareness in pursuit of a safer cohabitated workspace.

Course facilitators are Brian Carlisle, CEO and co-founder of robot manufacturer Precise Automation, and TCIE Project Engineer Akshay Sivadas. 

Introduction to Computer Vision Specialization: available late summer/early fall

A group of four courses, this specialization focuses on the rapidly expanding research field of computer vision. Learners are educated in foundational concepts, process images, and state-of-the-art visual recognition. They also are prepared to create image filters, stitch images as a panorama and work with stereo camera images.

Course facilitators are Junsong Yuan, UB computer science associate professor, and Radhakrishna Dasari, UB computer science instructor and PhD candidate.

The new courses join the school’s first MOOCs developed for Coursera: the Digital Manufacturing and Design Technology Specialization. The series about Industry 4.0 digital age concepts and technologies began rolling out in January 2017. It explores how data is connecting and improving each stage of the manufacturing process.