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Blended Learning To Enhance Computer Application Instruction

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Integrating Computer-based Technology in the Civil Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.284.1 - 14.284.8



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Paper Authors


Michael Chajes University of Delaware

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Michael Chajes, PhD, PE, currently serves as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware, and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Chajes is a registered Professional Engineer in Delaware, and served on Delaware’s Professional Engineering Registration Board from 1995 to 2000. Dr. Chajes was an undergraduate civil engineering student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and graduated with honors in 1984. After receiving his bachelor's degree, he attended the University of California at Davis (UCD) and received his M.S. in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1990. Dr. Chajes’ area of specialization is bridge evaluation and rehabilitation, including the use of nondestructive evaluation techniques and the application of advanced materials, primarily fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP).

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Glen Loller University of Delaware

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Glen A Loller currently serves as a network engineer for the Information Technologies Department at the University of Delaware. He also hold joint faculty appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and in the Department of Bioresources Engineering. Glen has an Associates Degree in Mechanical Engineering, has been at the University of Delaware for 28 years, and has been teaching CAD classes for ten years.

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Frank Conforti Bentley Systems

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Scott Lofgren Bentley Systems


Laura Meier Bentley Systems

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Laura Meier, Ph.D began her career in Academia; she taught at Binghamton University (the flagship campus of the SUNY system in New York) for six years. In 2002, Laura joined the Academic team at Bentley Systems, Incorporated—the Bentley Empowered (Be) Careers Network. She now acts as Academic Director for North America, helping schools and academic organizations throughout the United States and Canada to cultivate tomorrow’s AEC professionals.

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

Blended Learning to Enhance Computer Application Instruction Abstract

The University of Delaware’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (UD-CEE) curriculum has a required Freshman Design Class that includes a Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) lab. Due to growth in enrollment, the class has to accommodate approximately 100 students. To effectively teach CAD in computer classrooms, class sizes need to be limited. In order to provide adequate and efficient instruction to this large number of students, the spring of 2008 course instructor utilized blended learning, an approach that uses a mix of traditional classroom teaching and online training. In this case, the blended learning took the form of computer classroom lectures enhanced with online OnDemand eLearning modules.

The class was divided into small lab sections that met every other week. During the bi-weekly meeting, the lab instructor presented interactive lectures on fundamental CAD principles. The classroom enables students to work along with the instructor on a computer. During the time between lectures, the students were given OnDemand eLearning assignments using Bentley Systems, Inc. LEARN Server. Bentley LEARN allows students to access self-paced, OnDemand modules—any time and from any location—that include instruction, demonstrations, and on-line evaluation. These same online courses are utilized by employers around the world to train their employees, so students are learning technology skills prized by future employers. Bentley LEARN also tracks students’ progress individually and generates a learning transcript for students reflecting what they complete.

By the end of the semester, even though the students had attended only six lab lectures, they were able to complete a full semester’s worth of material by utilizing the concept of blended learning. The tracking and evaluation of student progress was facilitated by the use of Bentley’s on-line tracking and transcript generation system. Compared to the previous year, when OnDemand eLearning was not utilized, the improvement in student learning and progress was significant. Due to the success of this novel instructional technology, it is being considered for implementation in other classes as well. This paper provides details of the OnDemand eLearning environment, how it was integrated into the Freshman Design course curriculum, and the lessons learned during its implementation.


Large classes that involve the teaching of computer skills, such as computer-aided drafting, can be a challenge to teach effectively. It is essential that such classes are taught in computer- equipped classrooms where students can engage in hands-on learning. Due to growth in enrollment, freshman CAD classes can often be quite large. Computer classrooms are typically limited in size and availability; therefore, efficient methods of instruction are needed. At the University of Delaware, the solution that has been employed is the use of blended learning (an approach that uses a mix of traditional classroom teaching and online training). At Delaware, the blended learning took the form of computer classroom lectures enhanced with online OnDemand eLearning modules.

Chajes, M., & Loller, G., & Conforti, F., & Lofgren, S., & Meier, L. (2009, June), Blended Learning To Enhance Computer Application Instruction Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5463

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015