Industry-centered education has been an integral part of the educational program at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) since the founding of the college in 1941. This has included extensive use of laboratories and cooperative education as part of all MMA academic programs. Employers, graduates, and potential students describe MMA’s “hands-on” focus, reflected in the laboratory and cooperative education experiences, to be one of the main advantages of an MMA education, including the Power Engineering Technology (PET) program. In 1993, the MMA Engineering Department decided to build on this strength for the PET program by adding a personal computer-based, power plant control room simulator laboratory. The simulators were integrated into the PET Capstone experience, a two-course, nine credit hour sequence, that included both individual and team projects. The simulators were used to provide additional realistic, “hands–on” training as the students completed their degree. Over the course of the past fifteen years, while the simulators have continued to be a valued tool for the PET Program, the simulators were reaching the end point of their viable use due to hardware obsolescence. Since the simulator software was hardware specific, it had become impossible to procure replacement hardware for the simulators. In 2008, it was decided to replace the simulators and new simulator hardware and software have been procured and will be integrated into the PET Program beginning in the fall 2010 semester. This paper will describe the process used to determine the scope of the replacement process, the parameters for the new simulation systems, the procedure for determining the systems selected, and the process of integrating these new resources, including the assessment methods using the simulators, into the PET Program.

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