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A Web Based Discussion Community To Enhance Student Learning

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.141.1 - 8.141.14



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Paper Authors

author page

Greg Luttrell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793


Greg Luttrell, Ph.D., P.E. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


Transportation (CE 376) is a required upper division civil engineering survey course at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Student participation is vital, though in-class discussions are troublesome and time consuming. A WebCT based discussion component was added to address the content overload, provide equal student access to class discussions, and allow deeper student learning through topics in addition to or parallel to those being taught in class.

The WebCT discussions were required, graded and accounted for ten-percent of the student’s final grade. Discussion grades were assigned using a rubric that ranged from rewarding well thought out responses to penalizing disrespectful responses.

Each discussion period was one to two weeks. The students were required to make two discussion page postings; one based on their own personal thoughts on the discussion piece, and another with regard to the comments of other students. This method resulted in the discussion growing in both depth and breadth.

Student reaction to the electronic discussion forum was favorable, once technical issues were addressed. In-class discussion follow-up showed that many of the students had used the opportunity to think through the topics, becoming well versed in them. The depth of thought displayed in the discussion responses was outstanding, well beyond the expectations of the professor.

The use of this WebCT discussion technique provided benefits for this class. § Allowed student participation at an individual pace; § Included topics beyond the normal course scope; § Required the students to participate in a class activity while not physically in-class; § Challenged students to a high degree of thought (content and format) to receive high marks; and § Allowed assessment of individual student thoughts and writing without using in-class time. A WebCT or other electronic based discussion could be successfully added to all upper-division engineering courses with equally successful results.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Luttrell, G. (2003, June), A Web Based Discussion Community To Enhance Student Learning Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12304

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