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Active Learning In Distance Education

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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

ET Distance Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.160.1 - 8.160.7



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Paper Authors

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Anthony Dean

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Carol Considine

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

Session 1477

Active Learning in Distance Education

Carol Considine, Tony Dean

Old Dominion University


Although there are many strategies for incorporating active learning exercises into the traditional classroom, incorporating active learning exercises in a distance education delivery format is more challenging. Active learning has been shown to enhance student performance and attitudes when used in conjunction with a traditional lecture format.1 In order for students to be actively involved they must read, write, discuss, problem solve and engage higher-order thinking tasks such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.2 The implementation of active learning exercises in distance education classes may help establish student rapport and enhance the feeling of community among the students in a distance education environment.

In distance education instruction, it is more difficult to establish student rapport and get student feedback from the remote students than from those in the traditional campus setting. Old Dominion University delivers junior and senior level engineering technology elective courses using one-way video and two-way audio. The limitations of this delivery system compound the problems of establishing student rapport due to the geographical disparity of the students and the instructor.

Active learning techniques commonly used in large classroom environments require creative adaptation to fit the delivery medium used in distance learning. This paper will describe the implementation of active learning exercises in three senior elective courses in the distance education setting, how the implementation of these techniques effected the student evaluation of the distance class as compared to the on campus class, and the observations made by the faculty while implementing active learning techniques in a distant education environment. This paper will also explore additional active learning strategies that can be implemented in the future.


Old Dominion University (ODU) is a state university with the home campus located in Norfolk, Virginia. Established in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, today it enrolls over 20,000 students in 66 baccalaureate, 67 master’s, and 23 doctoral programs. The University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its engineering and engineering technology programs are accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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

Dean, A., & Considine, C. (2003, June), Active Learning In Distance Education Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11655

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