June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.229.1 - 26.229.15
Applying Traditional Student Engagement Techniques to Multidisciplinary Online Engineering Courses and Laboratories Abstract As engineering departments continue to expand their online course offerings, they face the challenge of translating onsite best practices into online environments in order to maintain student engagement and enhance student persistence. This paper will describe how we applied and assessed facetoface classroom techniques related to group discussions and laboratory activities to multidisciplinary online courses at our university. Hands on activities that engage students and increase persistence confront new and unique challenges in multidisciplinary online lab settings. To explore the student performance in online compared to onsite engineering laboratory courses, we have developed a multidisciplinary course in scientific problemsolving (EGR 320L) that is taught to both online and onsite undergraduate students in a variety of programs while covering the same course material, but delivering it in different ways. Students taking the onsite course meet twice a week with the instructor for 4.5 hours in each class for two months. Students taking the online course meet synchronously twice a week with the instructor for 2 hours. The students in both modalities were a mix of engineering and computer science majors; the online students took the course asynchronously from multiple locations throughout the United States plus military students serving abroad. The online course utilized live webcambroadcast laboratory demonstrations as well as handson laboratory equipment that were shipped to each student to create remote labs and adapt handson laboratory learning to online courses. Live synchronous chat sessions, asynchronous threaded discussion questions, and other technology tools enhanced the online class and engaged multidisciplinary students in the course material. Student selfassessment of remote laboratory activities was overall positive, with many innovative suggestions for future iterations. Group discussions are a key tool for promoting student engagement, but scheduling synchronous group discussions in an online environment can be a logistical challenge., Instructors use our LMS to gather students into one large virtual chat room.. Instructors divide large classs into concurrent satellite subgroups utilizing separate “rooms”. Within these satellite rooms, each student has access to audio, video discussion, application sharing, and whiteboard to document notes during the session. The instructor jumps in and out of each chat session, encouraging and guiding as necessary. Once complete, instructors can aggregate the whiteboard notes in the main online chat room and reconvene the whole class for individual group reports. Student selfassessment of this activity applied to a thermodynamics lab report was overwhelmingly positive. Both Engineering and Computer Science students reported enhanced analytical and communication skills throughout the activity. Finally, techniques from digital media design classes such as “Google Jockey” were incorporated and assessed in multidisciplinary online engineering courses. Students arriving in the virtual environment were tasked with researching core concepts, then reported their findings to the group. This activity in online multidisciplinary courses helps to transform an instructorbased lecture into a studentled presentation which improves student engagement.
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