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Assessing and Improving Student Engagement and Motivation in Mechanical Engineering Online Courses

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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

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Soheil Fatehiboroujeni University of California, Merced Orcid 16x16

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Soheil FatehiBoroujeni received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Merced in 2018. As a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University, School of Engineering Education, Soheil is working on a multi-institutional project characterizing governance processes related to change in engineering education, and pursuing other research interests in epistemology and design, among other philosophical topics in engineering education.

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Ala Qattawi University of Toledo


Sachin Goyal University of California, Merced

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Sachin Goyal is faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Merced. He has research interests in the areas of continuum mechanics, dynamics and controls with applications to several engineering and biological systems. He started a research program on Biomechanics and Mechanobiology at UC Merced with two ongoing research directions (

1. Understanding biomechanical symptoms of Parkinson's Disease from the perspective of feedback control theory
2. Modeling constitutive laws of biological filaments from their atomistic structures

Before launching these research directions, he contributed a nonlinear computational rod model to simulate the mechanics of filament-like structures and has applied it to analyze the biologically relevant deformations of DNA. He received his B.Tech. degree (1997) in Mechanical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), India, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (2006) in Mechanical Engineering and Scientific Computing from the University of Michigan. He also has had an industrial experience at Larson and Toubro Limited, India, has held a postdoctoral research appointments with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and in Biophysics department at Emory University, has served as a faculty in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Gandhingar, India and in the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics/ Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at Cornell University, and has served as a technical adviser to Timetooth Technologies Pvt. Ltd., India.

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Development of online courses in academia has been on the rise and both educators and students have shown interest in possibilities and affordances peculiar to this platform. It offers time flexibility and allows students to better organize their individual learning process. Despite the promising potentials of online courses, they require additional investment both during the course development and in each offering since they rely heavily on instructional design schemes to optimize the content and material for learning outcomes. Previous studies showed that online courses could have lower student engagement and motivation compared to the face-to-face course settings. However, more investigation is required to assess and improve those two factors, specifically for mechanical engineering (ME) online courses. A study is conducted at The University to assess and improve students’ engagement and motivation for two mechanical engineering courses offered online at the undergraduate level. The paper will describe the development of courses and the tools designed to assess and improve students’ engagement and motivation. The work presents a comparison of two ME online courses and produces actionable results for future improvement of the online courses in a similar context/major. In addition, this work highlights activities such as peer-to-peer interaction and video lectures that students considered beneficial and conducive to their learning experience while mostly reporting online discussion forum and reading assignments as the least helpful. We close the paper by discussing what further strategies could be used to enhance, and leverage student engagement and motivation in online learning settings.

Fatehiboroujeni, S., & Qattawi, A., & Goyal, S. (2019, June), Assessing and Improving Student Engagement and Motivation in Mechanical Engineering Online Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32111

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