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Analysis of Student Engagement Data from U.S. News & World Report Regarding Online Graduate Engineering Programs

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Online Programs and Program Assessment

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

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Paper Authors


Peter Wesley Odom Purdue University

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Wesley is a PhD student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. His primary research interests surround assessment technologies, the psychology of student learning of STEM subjects, ethics, and international community development.

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Hillary E. Merzdorf Purdue University

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College of Engineering

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Francisco J. Montalvo Purdue University

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Jason Marion Davis

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Over the past decade, online education has become much more prevalent, enabling working professionals to earn advanced degrees without ever stepping foot on a traditional brick-and-mortar campus. Although convenient for employers and employees, there remain a number of questions regarding effectiveness and quality of distance instruction as compared to that offered in traditional classrooms. As indicated by many studies exploring student and educator perceptions regarding distance education (Jarvie-Eggart, 2017; Centner, 2014; Jordan, Pakzad, & Oats, 2011; & Conceiçâo, 2006), the potential for greater convenience, autonomy, and affordability render it ideal for many students. However, a persistent trend demonstrates that students participating in distance education have lower rates of engagement (Robinson & Hullinger, 2008), and higher dropout rates (Aversa & MacCall, 2013; Park & Choi, 2009; Steinman, 2007; Willging & Johnson, 2004). A common theme encountered in a large majority of research surveyed for this paper is the disparity of means by which effective student-student and student-instructor interaction can be facilitated in online environments. Many concerns are grounded in the belief that student-student and student-instructor interactions contribute greatly to student engagement, which has strong links to overall student success (Smith, 2011; Smith et al., 2005). Although these links have seen a modicum of research efforts regarding their elucidation, very little has been done to explore these questions in engineering education. The research which has been done in this context focuses primarily on survey responses and student or faculty perspectives of distance education. In addition to exploring the current distance education landscape within engineering, this paper aims to apply a layer of quantitative analysis regarding the effects of student engagement on success rates as measured by degree completion and other factors. The primary source of information used for analysis comes from data collected by the U.S. World News Report rankings and statistics for online graduate engineering programs.

Odom, P. W., & Merzdorf, H. E., & Montalvo, F. J., & Davis, J. M. (2019, June), Analysis of Student Engagement Data from U.S. News & World Report Regarding Online Graduate Engineering Programs Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32087

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