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Analysis Of Tablet Pc Based Learning Experiences In Freshman To Junior Level Engineering Courses

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Re-Imagining the Higher Ed Classroom -- Tablet PCs

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.203.1 - 13.203.19



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Paper Authors


Vinod Lohani Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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VINOD K. LOHANI is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education and an adjunct faculty in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 1995. His areas of teaching and research include engineering education, international collaboration and hydrology & water resources.

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Ricky Castles Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Ricky Castles is a PhD student in computer engineering at Virginia Tech. He
holds a BS and MS degree in computer engineering, also from Virginia Tech. He
is also currently in pursuit of a second MS degree in industrial and systems
engineering. Mr. Castles research interests include educational modeling and
knowledge representation.

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Aditya Johri Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Johri is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He obtained a PhD in learning science and technology design from Stanford in 2007. Some areas of his research include geographically distributed & virtual work, and design and examination of socio?technical infrastructure for learning.

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Dewey Spangler Virginia Western Community College

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Dewey Spangler is an instructor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. Mr. Spangler holds an M.S. in Civil Engineering and a P.E. license in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His research interests involve active magnetic bearings, product design, K-12 engineering education, solid mechanics, and non-linear structural mechanics. He is currently pursuing a Ph. D. in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech.

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David Kibler Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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David Kibler is a professor in the civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech. His research interests are in hydrology and water resources.

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

Analysis of Tablet PC Based Learning Experiences in Freshman to Junior Level Engineering Courses


Virginia Tech announced a Tablet PC initiative for its engineering program in summer 2006. In fall 2006 Tablet based in and out of class activities were implemented in the freshman engineering program. In fall 2007, Tablet based instruction activities were implemented in upper level engineering courses. Typical examples of Tablet based instruction included electronic note taking, use of inking features to review homework solutions, completing skeleton PowerPoint slides, and setting up online collaboration sessions to do group design project and problem solving activities. In addition, the Tablets helped students maintain an electronic log of their individual and group efforts in completing design projects. A major change in 2007 was the incorporation of DyKnow software into instruction. Examples of students’ feedback in support of feedback based instruction and assessment data from in-class polling and an end of semester course exit survey of freshmen are presented to discuss the effectiveness of Tablet based instruction. Also, experiences of engineering freshman in fall 2006 and 2007 are compared to show effectiveness of new implementation strategies adopted in fall 2007.

1. Introduction

A new Tablet PC computing initiative was announced in summer 2006 for incoming engineering freshmen at the College of Engineering (COE) at Virginia Tech1. This initiative made it mandatory for all engineering freshmen (~1300 each year) to own a Tablet PC starting fall 2006. Figure 1 shows the response to an exit survey question (~220 respondents in fall 2006 and ~540 respondents in fall 2007) showing ownership of Tablets by brand. In 1984, the COE was the first public institution in the U.S. to require its entering engineering freshmen to own a personal computer. In 2002, the college moved to a laptop requirement and many of its academic buildings were outfitted to offer wireless communication capabilities. Tablet PC Ownership by Brand Tablet PC Ownership by Brand Fall 2006 Fall 2007 2% 5% 2% 1% 2% 2% Fujitsu Fujitsu Toshiba 9% 17% Toshiba Gateway Gateway 39% HP 15% 67% HP 39% Asus Asus Dell Lenovo

Figure 1- Tablet PC Ownership by Engineering Freshmen at Virginia Tech in fall 2006 and fall 2007 Note: Dell computers represent laptops.


Lohani, V., & Castles, R., & Johri, A., & Spangler, D., & Kibler, D. (2008, June), Analysis Of Tablet Pc Based Learning Experiences In Freshman To Junior Level Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4029

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