Edith Cowan University (ECU) is launching Australia's first ever postgraduate degree in mobile computing with global networking company Nortel.
From January 2007, the West Australian university will offer a Master of Mobile Computing in addition to its current bachelors, postgraduate certificate and diploma offerings.
The two-year Masters program is expected to appeal to new graduates as well as IT professionals, offering theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and social networking opportunities with prominent members of the mobile industry.
Course material will be based on training material from Nortel, who will also provide carrier-grade equipment for laboratory work. Nortel's relationship with Edith Cowan University dates back to 2005, when the company deployed a wireless mesh network across the university's four campuses.
"Nortel is an ideal partner on that end because, off the top of my head, I can't think of another company which has such a significant influence and participation in both carrier space and enterprise space," said ECU senior lecturer and course coordinator Alfred Tan. "I think this recent announcement is just another high point in the cumulative work, on both ends, of our curriculum."
Unlike the mobile computing courses at other institutions that focus on specific areas of mobility, subjects in ECU's curriculum encompass the whole spectrum of mobility, Tan said.
To produce the multi-skilled "wireless warriors" that Tan envisions, the course covers technologies from Personal Area Networks like RFID and Bluetooth, to Local Area Networks like WiFi and wireless mesh technologies, to Wide Area Networks and mobile application development.
"In today's world, we are seeing a push towards a seamless operating environment where the device will adapt to what backbone you have without any effort from the user - for example, phones with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G," Tan said. "Students need to learn to develop smart tools that can seamlessly use these protocols at the backend, so as far as the user is concerned, they have an uninterrupted experience."
In addition to its partnership with Nortel, ECU also has agreements with Cisco, IBM, Lenovo, a South Australian industry-government consortium, and local mobile application developers in Western Australia.
The course will be delivered at ECU's campus in Mount Lawley, with some subjects also offered online. Students are required either to already possess a relevant undergraduate degree, or to be able to demonstrate equivalent prior learning, including at least five years of industrial experience.