Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Developing and Implementing Standards

IEEE Standards University offers MOOCs, webinars, and even a game

7 February 2017

Are you a college instructor who wants to cover technical standards in your courses? Or perhaps you’re an engineer assigned to help develop a standard for a new product but are not sure where to begin? The new IEEE Standards University website can help.

The site offers educational materials including workshops, an e-magazine, and videos on just about every facet of a technical standard, as well as a six-week massive open online course (MOOC).

Standards form the fundamental building blocks for product development by establishing consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted. These protocols consist of specifications and procedures and requirements for maximizing the reliability of materials, products, methods, and services that are the subjects of the standard. Anyone can participate in standards development.

Launched in November, the university website was created by the IEEE Standards Education Committee, a joint board of the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and IEEE Educational Activities.

“Standards University is a one-stop shop aimed at students, educators, and practicing engineers—just about anyone who wants to learn more about standards,” says IEEE Senior Member Yatin Trivedi, a member of the IEEE Standards Education Committee. Trivedi is also vice president for hardware product services at Aricent, in San Jose, Calif. “The IEEE Standards University’s materials aim to bring a better understanding of the value and impact that standards have in business and manufacturing.”

Here’s some of what the IEEE website offers.


Videos, webinars, and workshops cover such topics as an introduction to standards, understanding standards development, how to read and use standards, and ethics.

There’s even a first-of-a-kind standards development simulation game. Mars Space Colony: A Game of Standardization teaches players, who are helping to colonize the Red Planet, how to go about developing standards. Participants join working groups that must reach consensus on standards for vehicles, including communications and power. The game incorporates technical obstacles to be overcome, intellectual property ownership, economics, and government regulations that can affect standards development. It is available for a yearly licensing fee to IEEE student branches, chapters, and regions as well as universities, governments, and companies.

In the Practical Ideas From Professors section, educators provide tips on incorporating standards into curricula. Subjects for standardization include biomedical engineering, electromagnetic compatibility, and wireless communications.

IEEE partnered with edX.org, a provider of online courses, to offer the six-week MOOC, Innovation and Competition: Succeeding Through Global Standards. The course covers topics such as why standards matter globally; how standards are a bridge for technology strategy, innovation, and bringing products to market; the importance of standards to society, business and careers; and much more. More than 5,000 people from 135 countries have registered for the course, which was given twice last year. IEEE also offers a license to universities that want to offer the MOOC for college credit.

The IEEE Standards University website has a library, which features guides with titles such as “European Standards and Conformity Assessment,” “A Primer on Korea’s Standards Systems,” and “The Rise of China in Technology Standards: New Norms in Old Institutions.”

A free quarterly e-magazine provides the latest news in standards development for a number of areas, like big data, smart cities, and the Internet of Things. The publication also includes information about related standards development projects including ones from other standards organizations.


Knowing the ins and outs of developing standards is a great asset, Trivedi points out. He says he knows of employees who were promoted because they were members of standards development groups.

“The company sees those employees as technical experts who can command respect not only from peers within the company but from industry peers as well,” he says.

In the video below, members of the IEEE Young Professionals group describe how being involved with developing standards has helped them advance their careers.


IEEE offers grants to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty mentors if they opt to incorporate standards into graduate work or senior-year capstone design projects. Students can receive US $500; faculty mentors, $300.

“The money gives students an incentive to include standards, and the mentor a reason to ensure the project is completed,” Trivedi says. To apply, students must submit a description of the project together with a list of standards they hope to include. Applications may be submitted any time during the year.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

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