September 23, 2010 | | Leave a comment Many facets of the engineering industry require professionals to have a thorough understanding of the way their products work. As a result, some campus-based and online schools are enabling degree seekers to gain hands-on experience in real-world situations as part of their curricula. For instance, Clemson University recently challenged students in its engineering program to design and build an electric car. The result was Deep Orange, an automobile that is powered by lithium polymer batteries. Research revealed that these batteries can last 20 miles at a time on their own, while the vehicle has an overall range of 400 miles when its on-board gasoline engine is utilized. Paul Venhovens, chair in automotive systems integration for BMW, served as the project’s industry partner. He said that this initiative required participants to “be directly, intimately involved in systems integration with industry partners collaborating and [exposed] them to the capabilities and limitations of certain technologies.” Students who choose to enroll in similar courses of study at online colleges may have time to participate in real-world projects, as they will be able to schedule their coursework around other activities.