Recent advances in web technology have transformed the World-Wide-Web from delivering static text to providing an easily accessible multimedia channel for dynamic, interactive communication. By using such technologies, academic teaching may evolve toward the next-generation way to transfer knowledge. At present time, there are two approaches that can be found: the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) approach that delivers video interactive classes to the vast audience with an open-access philosophy and Restrict-Access Courses (RAC) that deliver classes and, more important, standard degrees to limited audience . While the two approaches are comparable when dealing with most academic disciplines, teaching engineering has some peculiarities that let the restricted–access course a more viable solution.
First of all, engineering schools must prepare the student for the profession. In most countries, after the degree there is a professional practice period, thus a closer relation between teacher and students allows bringing the professional knowledge embedded in the academy.
Being also a scientific discipline, engineering takes advantage from a close contact between teaching and research, especially for cutting-edge technologies. Finally, student projects are one of the most important steps of the educational path of the young engineers. Good student projects need one to one supervision, an adequate environment in particular for lab practice, and campuses that only restricted-access academies may provide.