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Comparison Of Students' Performance In Online And Conventional Sections Of Engineering Thermodynamics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative Classroom Techniques

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.325.1 - 9.325.6

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Paper Authors

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Geoff Silcox

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

Session 3213

Comparison of Students' Performance in Online and Conventional Sections of Engineering Thermodynamics

Geoffrey D. Silcox

Department of Chemical Engineering University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 84112


The effectiveness of online and conventional sections of engineering thermodynamics were compared by looking at (1) ChE and ME students’ performance in subsequent thermodynamics courses, (2) two sections’ performance on an identical final, and (3) ChE and ME students’ grades. By all measures employed, there is not a statistically significant difference in the effectiveness of the two approaches. The two groups were not randomly chosen.

The students taking the online and conventional sections have a mean grades of 3.16 (four-point scale) and 3.08 in their subsequent thermodynamics courses. The statistically insignificant difference between the means is 0.075± 0.832 (95% confidence level).

Two sections were given identical finals. The mean (200-point basis) for the online section was 144 while that for the conventional was 145. Twenty-one students were in the online section and 59 were in the traditional section.

In making a comparison based on grades in the introductory course, the focus was limited to those ChE and ME students who took subsequent thermodynamics courses. For those two majors, the online and conventional students have mean grades of 3.33 and 3.16. The statistically insignificant difference between the means is 0.213± 0.628.


I have taught parallel sections of online and conventional engineering thermodynamics for fours semesters. This paper compares the effectiveness of the two approaches based on scores on examinations, grades, and performance in subsequent thermodynamics courses. The data were collected in the semesters summarized in Table 1.

"Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education"

Silcox, G. (2004, June), Comparison Of Students' Performance In Online And Conventional Sections Of Engineering Thermodynamics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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