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A Comparative Analysis of Challenges Encountered in Achieving Student Outcomes When Teaching a Senior Engineering Technical Core Course Online and Face-to-Face

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Technology Curriculum and Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Riem Rostom Indiana State University

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Riem Rostom is an Assistant Professor in the Applied Engineering and Technology Management Department at Indiana State University. She received her doctorate degree in Energy and Environmental Systems from North Carolina A&T State University, M.Sc. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, and B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering from Alexandria University. She teaches mechanical engineering and engineering technology courses. Her research interest is in building conservation of energy and engineering education.

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Sheikh Fahad Ferdous Indiana State University

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Dr. Ferdous is currently working as an assistant professor at the Indiana State University. Before that, he served as a lecturer as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Prior that, he was appointed as a visiting assistant professor at Binghamton University – SUNY. His research interests includes nano-mechanics and nano-composites, multi-functional materials, polymer nano-composites, multi-scale modeling, bio-mechanics, resilient ceramic materials, and engineering education. His teaching interest area covers capstone design, mechanics of materials, machine design, materials science, kinematics, engineering economics, etc. He has received his Ph.D. from University of Texas at Arlington in mechanical engineering in 2015.

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A. Mehran Shahhosseini Indiana State University

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A. Mehran Shahhosseini is a Professor in the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology
Management and director of the PhD Program in Technology Management at Indiana State University. He has published over 50 articles in different journals and conference proceedings. He has served as an investigator for research projects sponsored by National Science Foundation, Ford Motor Company, and the US Army. Before working at Indiana State University, he was a faculty
in the University of Louisville for 10 years. He also has over four years of industrial experience.
He received his D.Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lamar University (USA) in 1999, M.Sc. in Materials Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in 1991, and B.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering from Tehran University in 1988. He is a member of ASEE, ASME, and ATMAE.

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Designing a course that involves problem-based learning for a multidisciplinary senior course is challenging and when the same course is taught online these challenges culminate with new ones added. This comparative analysis improves our understanding of how these challenges impact student learning and provides a basis for evaluating general approaches that are taken to overcome them which can benefit similar course development. The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the challenges faced in a senior engineering technical core course taught online and face-to-face through different comparisons from various teaching perspectives and between the different teaching methodologies.

The first comparison is made in fall 2017 when the course was taught by the same instructor both online and face-to-face. The focus of this comparison is the different challenges for the online vs face-to-face viewed from the same perspective and with using almost the same teaching methodology. The second comparison is made by another instructor for the fall 2018 and fall 2019 with face-to-face classes. The focus of this comparison is the challenges for the face-to-face viewed from the same perspective and with using almost the same teaching methodology. In fall 2019 the course had one face-to-face and two online sections, each taught by a different instructor. Three comparisons are made between each pair. One for the online vs online, and two comparisons for the face-to-face with online. The focus of these three comparisons is the different challenges viewed from the different perspectives of the instructors with their different teaching methodology. A shared rubric is used in all five comparisons. The selected course name for this analysis is Engineering Design and Management with an average of 40 students in each section. The students enrolled in this course are primarily but not limited to mechanical engineering technology and engineering technology management. Challenges start with the formation of group members and the selection of the appropriate design project to suit student’s different levels of skills and knowledge and end with documenting and presenting their work. The project engineering design stages include literature review, problem formulation and analysis, project planning, creating design alternatives, evaluating and selecting the best design alternative.

During each of the project engineering stages, challenges are compared and analyzed. Project-related challenges were ranked the highest for all comparisons performed. The study also showed that two out of the five student outcomes were harder to achieve and faced higher challenges. When comparing how each of the course evaluation methods helped to reduce the identified challenges towards each student outcome, it was found that the project-related assignments contributed the most in achieving 3 out of 5 student outcomes.

Rostom, R., & Ferdous, S. F., & Shahhosseini, A. M. (2021, July), A Comparative Analysis of Challenges Encountered in Achieving Student Outcomes When Teaching a Senior Engineering Technical Core Course Online and Face-to-Face Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36563

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