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A Fully Online Accredited Undergraduate Electrical Engineering Program

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment & Accreditation in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Stephen M. Phillips Arizona State University

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Stephen M. Phillips received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He has served on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University from 1988 to 2002. He joined the faculty of Arizona State University in 2002. In 2005 was appointed department chair and in 2009 he was appointed director of the newly formed School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

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Marco Saraniti Arizona State University

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A fully online accredited undergraduate electrical engineering program

We have implemented a fully online undergraduate electrical engineering program at a large public university. This paper describes the objectives for the program, how it was implemented and an assessment of the student outcomes. The curriculum, admissions standards, accreditation and faculty delivering the program are identical for face-to-face and online delivery. The program was initially implemented primarily to extend the reach of our existing program to underserved student populations. Our enrolment statistics show that this goal was achieved to an extent much greater than anticipated. The characteristics of the online students enrolled in online delivery (age, professional experience, veteran/military status etc.) differ from those of the students enrolled face-to-face.

Another goal of the program is to develop and instructional approach that leverages the technology of online delivery to fundamentally change how student access the material and organize it according to their individual learning styles. We have developed course materials that are very dense, highly efficient and flexibly delivered. Our approach is completely different from “lecture-capture” approaches to online delivery. Our assessment process shows that there is very little difference between the achievement of student learning outcomes between the face-to-face delivery and online delivery. Significant challenges for our online delivery have been the development of laboratory experiences and the proctoring of exams. Our assessment of student outcomes shows that students enrolled online have achieved the outcomes related to the laboratory exercises. We have engaged an external proctoring company to independently verify and monitor the academic integrity of the online exam process.

Another challenge is to achieve acceptance of online delivery among our constituencies. This has been achieved to a large extent as verified by the unexpectedly large demand among our students, the enthusiastic participation among a growing group of faculty members and discussions of our external advisory board which is dominated by industry members. A recent accreditation visit provides additional evidence of acceptance among the engineering community.

Phillips, S. M., & Saraniti, M. (2016, June), A Fully Online Accredited Undergraduate Electrical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26323

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