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A Study of Online Textbook Use Across Multiple Engineering Courses

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Digital Technologies and Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

22.109.1 - 22.109.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17391

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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John Chen California Polytechnic State University

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John Chen is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at Cal Poly. He joined the faculty there in 2008 after being on the faculty at Rowan University from 1998 - 2008. He is an active member of ASEE.

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Christine A. Victorino California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Christine A. Victorino completed her B.Sc. at Queen's University, B.Ed. at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)/University of Toronto, and M.A. (Education) at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Education at UC, Santa Barbara.

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Charles Birdsong California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Charles Birdsong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Charles Birdsong has expertise in automotive safety, vibrations, controls, signal processing, instrumentation, real-time control, active noise control, and dynamic system modeling. He received his B.S.M.E. at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, M.S. and Ph.D. at Michigan State University where he worked on active noise control applications for the automotive industry. He has worked in the vibration test and measurement industry helping to drive new technologies to market and working with industry to meet their emerging needs. He is currently an Associate Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in the Department of Mechanical Engineering teaching dynamics, vibrations and controls and is involved in several undergraduate and master’s level multidisciplinary projects.

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Unny Menon California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Unny Menon, Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo from 1978 onwards. He also served as Dept.Chair, Senate Chair, Associate Dean and Assistant Provost at Cal Poly. His prior faculty positions were at Sheffield Polytechnic UK, University of Nottingham UK and at RT in Rochester NY. His industry appointments have included British Steel Corp., Bechtel, IBM, Northern Telecom, US Navy Research Station and NEC. His NSF and industry funded research has addressed Concurrent Engineering, Rapid Prototyping, Optimization of automated manufacturing systems and least cost blending models for steel making.

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Marilyn Tseng California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Marilyn Tseng is an epidemiologist and Research Associate Professor and Lecturer in the Kinesiology Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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Tyler Scott Smith

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"Tyler Smith is a Junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He also works at Cal Poly's Center for Teaching and Learning, assisting faculty and staff with teaching resources. He is also member of Alpha Phi Omega, a coed national service fraternity and part of the Tissue and Microcirculation Repair Lab on campus. He expects to graduate in June 2012.

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Abstract

A Study of On-line Textbook Use across Multiple Engineering CoursesOn-line textbooks are appealing for reasons of reduced cost, inclusion of multimedia enhancements,and other features that digital media offer, such as hyperlinks between problems and supportingcontent. On-line homework assignments can also present unique problems to each student and beimmediately graded to provide instant feedback. Possible drawbacks are poor user interface, lack ofstandards among the various on-line textbook providers, and the need to learn a new way to interactwith a textbook system. In this study, our goal was to examine the ease of implementation andeffectiveness of one such on-line textbook system. We also compared students’ attitudes andperformance across courses using the on-line textbooks, and students’ attitudes and performanceusing on-line vs. printed textbooks in “control” and “treatment” sections of one course.This study was implemented during the spring 2010 quarter in three different courses including atotal of ~200 students. All three courses used one publisher’s on-line textbook system. For one ofthe courses, two “control” sections used only a printed textbook to allow for comparisons with two“treatment” sections of the same course. The control and treatment sections were taught by thesame instructor using the same pedagogy and approach, and with similar lecture periods,assignments and tests.Surveys that measured textbook usage and attitudes using a Likert-type scale were administered atthree times during the term (week two, midterm, and final week). Additional data included pre- andpost-course concept inventories that were developed or adopted for course-specific learningoutcomes. Finally, qualitative student comments were collected in the surveys. Participation in thestudy was voluntary and uncompensated, and had no effect on the participants’ grade. Surveyresponses were examined for differences between the control and treatment sections, across thethree on-line textbook courses, and over time in each course, using mixed linear regression modelstaking repeated measures into account. Student survey comments were coded for common themesand analyzed.Linear regression analyses for the one course with a control group indicated significant differencesbetween the on-line and printed textbook groups, with consistently more favorable scores in thelatter group. These differences were apparent from the first survey and became more pronouncedover time. Significant differences were also found across the three on-line textbook courses onmultiple survey items measuring students’ usage and attitudes (p < 0.001). Preliminary findingssuggest that student interaction with online textbooks differed based on the technical complexity ofthe course. The qualitative comments for the most technical course in the study indicated that theuser interface and technical difficulties with entering symbolic solutions to the on-line environmentwere problematic. In contrast, students enrolled in the course that covered general theory and usedmore case studies had generally positive responses to the on-line system. The remaining course,while technical, did not usually require more than numerical solution input to the on-lineenvironment, and showed responses that were generally intermediate between the other twocourses. The results will inform the design and implementation of on-line textbooks in theengineering curriculum.

Chen, J., & Victorino, C. A., & Birdsong, C., & Menon, U., & Tseng, M., & Smith, T. S. (2011, June), A Study of Online Textbook Use Across Multiple Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17391

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