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Comparing Learning Outcomes and Content Mastery in Online and Face-to-Face Engineering Statics Courses

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Statics Online

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.373.1 - 26.373.9



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Paper Authors


Jamie Douglas University of Wisconsin Colleges Online

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Jamie Douglas is an Assistant Professor with the University of Wisconsin Colleges Online and at the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley. She completed a bachelor’s in civil/environmental engineering from the University of Illinois (UIUC) in 1998 and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2007. She currently lives in Appleton, WI with her husband and two children.

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Comparing Learning Outcomes and Content Mastery in Online and Face-to- Face Engineering Statics CoursesAbstractOnline engineering education has expanded rapidly in recent years and many questions havebeen raised about the learning outcomes and content mastery in online classes as they comparewith traditional face-to-face formats. This paper compares the learning outcomes and contentmastery for students in an Engineering Mechanics (Statics) course taught in three differentmodes of instruction. This study was initiated in 2011 with a cohort of three courses: one taughtasynchronously online, one taught face-to-face, and a third taught via synchronousaudiographics. Students provided feedback on their use of instructional resources, their learningstyles, and their attitudes throughout the semester. Content mastery was measured throughstudent performance on proctored exams. Due to the small number of students in the initialcohort of the online course, the assessments were repeated with a second cohort of students inonline and face-to-face courses in the spring of 2014.The results of this study show that in the first cohort (2011), the online students outperformed theface-to-face when given identical problems on proctored quizzes and exams. Attitudes amongstudents in the face-to-face and online classes were similar and generally positive. Theperformance of students in the audiographics distance class fell into the range between the onlineand face-to-face classes. However, students who were in the synchronous audiographics classwere less satisfied with their mode of instruction despite their competence with the coursecontent.In the second cohort of students (2014), there was little to no difference in content masterybetween students who completed the online and face-to-face sections of the class. Scores onidentical proctored exam problems were similar to those earned by the face-to-face students inthe initial cohort of 2011. In both cohorts of students, withdrawal and non-completion rates werehigher in the online and audiographics courses than either of the face-to-face courses.

Douglas, J. (2015, June), Comparing Learning Outcomes and Content Mastery in Online and Face-to-Face Engineering Statics Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23712

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