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A Transition from Face-to-Face to Online Delivery in Nano Steps

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: The Remote World

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Smitesh Bakrania Rowan University

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Dr. Smitesh Bakrania is an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. He received his Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 2008 and his B.S. from Union College in 2003. His research interests include combustion synthesis of nanoparticles and combustion catalysis using nanoparticles. He is also involved in developing educational apps for instructional and research purposes.

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Lopa Bakrania Rowan University

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There is a general skepticism among academics toward online learning. When compared to face-to-face courses, online learning is perceived as inherently lacking in educational value offered to the students. The fact that instructors are not able to interact directly with their students in real space and time, looms large in the minds of academics when thinking about the quality of learning. At the same time, we recognize that online learning offers new and unique ways to engage the students. Online learning appeals to a broader set of students. For instance, students who are part-time or prefer more flexible schedules particularly benefit from the online accessibility. As a result, there is a recent trend towards offering online engineering courses. Often the challenge when developing an online course is to leverage the unique aspects of online learning and overcome the obvious deficiencies, i.e., face-to-face interaction. A direct digitization of the existing course content likely accentuates the deficiencies. Instead, a systematic developmental approach is recommended to remaster an existing course to better suit its new digital habitat. Here we study such a transformation, detail the steps, and compare the outcomes. A senior engineering elective was selected for the transition into an online course. The course titled, Introduction to Nanotechnology, was previously taught by the same instructor as a face-to-face course. This course was regularly evaluated using student feedback. For the Fall 2018 term, the course was transitioned to be delivered entirely online. It was subsequently offered again during the Summer session in 2019. The student learning outcomes and feedback from two traditional lecture offerings and two digital offerings were compared. The direct measures of course assessments revealed no difference between the traditional and the online offering. The absence of any noticeable difference in learning outcomes is an important baseline for the effectiveness of the online course. The indirect measures based on student surveys reflected a similar endorsement of the online approach. Besides the learning outcomes, the exercise of transforming an existing face-to-face course to online delivery highlighted effective transition strategies, assignment types, and engagement methods to build a successful course. This case study proposes a staged transition to test lecture content and assignments within a traditional lecture-based setting. A limited survey of similar such transitions at our institution suggested how the content can govern the student experience within an online learning environment. The outcomes are of value to the engineering education community considering the growing demand for online learning fueled by the generational learning preferences.

Bakrania, S., & Bakrania, L. (2020, June), A Transition from Face-to-Face to Online Delivery in Nano Steps Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34079

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