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Degree Of Participation In An Online Project Based Activity And Its Impact On Student Performance

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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 Teaching Methods in Engineering Economy

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.371.1 - 9.371.10

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Paper Authors

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Donald Merino

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

Session 1139

Web-Based Project Based Learning (PBL) Activities - A Technogenesis Example using a Senior Design Lab Kate D. Abel, Ph.D., and Donald N. Merino, Ph.D. P.E. Stevens Institute of Technology


Education represents one of the largest areas for the application of online Project Based Learning (PBL) activities. But does the use of web based PBL help improve student learning? This question is the subject of this paper.

To examine this hypothesis, student achievement in an Engineering Economic Design course was examined. The Engineering Economic Design course requires students to analyze the economic feasibility of their Senior Design projects and is part of the Technogenesis® theme in the Stevens engineering curriculum that helps students understand how to commercialize technology. The course is required for all senior engineering students and is designed to add a real-world, project-based component to Senior Design Projects. The course has both a lecture and lab component, where the lab portion of the course could be performed as a web-based activity by the team members.

The web-based lab participation was only required three times during the Engineering Economic Design course. Student achievement was used as the dependant variable and the total number of web accesses was the independent variable in this analysis. Data were collected for two semesters to increase the sample size and were not reviewed or analyzed until the end of the second semester to eliminate grading prejudice in the study.

A regression analysis was conducted to compare the frequency of students’ web-based access with their grades. Statistical analyses indicate that students who were more active in a web- based activity received higher grades in the course and thus more insight into how to commercialize technology. A positive correlation also existed which supports the conclusion that PBL was effective in this case.

Teaching using only lectures is a labor intensive, high cost teaching method since it involves experienced professors or teaching assistants. Lessons learned from this research could impact the possible restructuring of such classes since the results indicate that those students who actively participate in on-line, lab-based group learning activity achieve better grades than those who do not.

Educational Literature and Background

Literature debates the impact a delivery medium has on learning outcomes. Equally as important is the degree to which the medium is utilized. Some argue that a delivery method for education only impacts the efficiency of delivery and not the effectiveness of the outcome.

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

Merino, D. (2004, June), Degree Of Participation In An Online Project Based Activity And Its Impact On Student Performance Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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