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Assessment Methods For Virtual Laboratories In Civil Engineering Technology

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.213.1 - 6.213.8

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Paper Authors

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Jr., Vernon Lewis

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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 2647

Assessment Methods for Virtual Laboratories in Civil Engineering Technology Carol L. Considine, Vernon W. Lewis, Jr. Old Dominion University


Old Dominion University has developed an extensive distance learning system that includes 40 remote sites. A majority of the sites are located at community colleges. There are 30 sites in Virginia, three sites in North Carolina, one site in Washington State and one site in Arizona. In addition, there are four sites at Higher Education Centers in Virginia and one site at a local industrial facility.

The Civil Engineering Technology curriculum requires three laboratory courses, which are a challenge in the distance learning environment because of the lack of laboratory equipment and computers at the broadcast sites. The three courses include a laboratory in materials testing, a laboratory in soils testing and a laboratory using commercially available structural analysis and design software. In an effort to better evaluate the performance of students in the distant classes in comparison to that of the students in the on-site classes, changes have been implemented for these courses. This paper discusses concerns with this process and provides a summary of our efforts to improve assessment for these courses.


Old Dominion University is one of the largest degreed distance education programs in the United States. The University is committed to providing distance learning students the same educational opportunities that are available to on-site students. The Civil Engineering Technology (CET) curriculum is one of the degreed programs that are offered through the Old Dominion University Distant Learning (TELETECHNET) system.

Distance-learning students typically earn an associate degree at their local community colleges and then attend Old Dominion University through the TELETECHNET system to earn their baccalaureate degree in CET. The typical lecture courses are delivered in synchronous mode, and the students have great success in this manner. There are, however, three laboratory courses in the CET curriculum: CET 345, Testing & Inspection of Construction Materials, CET 341, Soils Testing and Inspection, and CET 400, Computer Applications in Structures, that do not fit into the synchronous delivery format. CET 341 and CET 345 require laboratory equipment to perform the experiments, and CET 400 requires that students have access to a computer. In most instances, neither the laboratory equipment nor the computers for students are available at the broadcast sites.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Lewis, J. V., & Considine, C. (2001, June), Assessment Methods For Virtual Laboratories In Civil Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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