Online course explores the transformation of aerospace

Aerospace is a research focus of TUM. Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

Aerospace is a research focus of TUM. Image: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

MOOC presents digitalization in science and business

Aerospace is an engine of technological change that is itself undergoing a far-reaching transformation through digital technologies. The new online course "Digitalisation in Aeronautics and Space" offers insights into this process and how it is impacting the working world of engineers. With lecturers from several research institutions and leading companies, this free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is intended for professionals, students and anyone with an interest in technology.

How is artificial intelligence being used in satellite research? How is automation affecting production processes in aeronautics? How are robotics and digitalization changing corporate workflows in the industry? To answer these and other questions on the technological transformation in the aerospace sector, the research network Munich Aerospace and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have created an English-language online course. The MOOC is available free of charge starting today on the Coursera learning platform.

Researchers from TUM, Universität der Bundeswehr München (UniBwM), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Bauhaus Luftfahrt as well as speakers from such companies as Airbus and the analysis and testing service provider IABG, explain the effects of digitalization on production, maintenance and certification in the aerospace sector. In a welcoming address, the Bavarian State Minister for Digital Affairs, Judith Gerlach, explains the role of aerospace research for the Bavarian digitalization strategy.

The MOOC is made up of three parts and a total of 10 modules consisting of videos and interactive elements. To offer the online participants optimal learning conditions, the course series was initially piloted and optimized for six months with learners around the world taking part in the Global Aerospace Campus e-learning program: "Apart from presenting an impressive line-up of respected experts from various fields, it was always a priority for us to provide a genuine learning experience," says Prof. Klaus Drechsler, the dean of studies in the TUM Department of Aerospace and Geodesy and a member of the Munich Aerospace Executive Board. Participants can therefore test their knowledge, review tasks applicable to the working world and join discussion forums to exchange ideas with others from around the world.

Drechsler is the head of the international e-learning and conference program Global Aerospace Campus, created with the involvement of scientists from the Bavarian partner regions: "From São Paulo to Québec to South Africa, aerospace enthusiasts from around the world were already interacting in the test phase. MOOCs like this one show that education can forge ties between people and regions worldwide," says Drechsler.

"Aerospace is a key to the digital technologies of the future," says Dr. Florian Herrmann, head of the State Chancellery and State Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Media: "I’m delighted that the Global Aerospace Campus, launched by the state of Bavaria in 2016 under the RLS Sciences initiative, is now releasing its first MOOC. Bavaria is a fully committed partner of the RLS Sciences network, which has immense potential at the interface between science, business and government."

The course is offered through the TUM Institute of Life Long Learning. As a trailblazer in massive open online courses, TUM provides worldwide access to top-level education and supports working people in obtaining important qualifications for the employment market. More than 570,000 learners from over 170 countries have enrolled for MOOCs offered by TUM so far. These productions also enrich TUM’s academic teaching through the integration of MOOC modules into regular degree programs.

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