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Attendance in Large Engineering Classes and Its Effect on Student Performance

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

First-Year Programs (FPD) Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.231.1 - 23.231.10



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Paper Authors


Mike Elmore Binghamton University

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Dr. Mike Elmore is director of and a visiting associate professor in the Engineering Design Division in the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University—State University of New York at Binghamton, NY. He holds a B.S. in Engineering Education from the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, a M.S. in Engineering Education from Syracuse University at Syracuse, NY, and a Ph.D. degree from Binghamton University. He has worked for Lockheed Martin, IBM, General Electric, BAE Systems, and Celestica Corporation. He has 25 years of experience in these companies designing military and commercial power electronic circuits and as a systems engineer for airborne and land vehicle electrical systems. He is a license professional engineer.

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Koenraad E Gieskes Binghamton University

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Student Learning as a Function of Attendance in Large Engineering ClassesAbstract – In large engineering classes one of the more practical methods of delivering the material tostudents is through the use of a traditional lecture style class. However, in such a setting, keeping a largeclass engaged in the material can present quite a challenge. This challenge can be partly met through theuse of technology, student response devices, and/or carefully crafted lectures. Even so, some studentswill remain unengaged due to other factors like physical/mental exhaustion or the many distractions alarge room full of over 250 students can present. This becomes an even larger challenge in the case of afirst-year introductory engineering course due to the varied backgrounds of the students; some of whomhave completed high-school engineering programs and might have experienced similar subject matterpreviously.This paper presents the culmination of a two-year study of an alternative for freshman engineeringstudents to attending a large lecture in their introductory engineering course. During the course of thisstudy, in the fall semester, students were required to be physically present in lecture. Following this, inthe spring semester, students were given the choice of either: (a) being physically present, when thelecture is given, or (b) viewing the recorded lecture. The student’s in-class attendance was recorded viathe iClicker™ classroom response system. Students who chose to not attend lecture could access thevideo recording via the Blackboard™ course management software during the same week the lecturewas given. This paper consists of several parts, first a description of the program as well as the methodsused to track the progress is provided. Then, a comparison of student performance on exams,administered during each semester, is presented as well as a comparison of lecture assignmentcompletion rates to lecture attendance. Finally, this paper culminates in a discussion of the effect thatlecture attendance has on the learning of the student.

Elmore, M., & Gieskes, K. E. (2013, June), Attendance in Large Engineering Classes and Its Effect on Student Performance Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19245

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