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Design and Implementation of an Online Digital Design Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Software & Web-based Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Chao Wang Arizona State University

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Chao Wang received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is currently a lecturer in Ira. A Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

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Michael Goryll Arizona State University

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Michael Goryll joined the ASU faculty in 2007. He received a Ph.D. in physics in 2000 and a diploma in physics in 1997, both from the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Before joining ASU as a faculty member, Goryll spent several years at the Research Centre Jülich, the largest national research lab in Germany, focusing on SiGe chemical vapor deposition and biosensor development. Dr. Goryll's current research interests are in the field of silicon processing for nanopore devices, the integration of biogenic nanostructures with silicon MEMS and the development of low-noise wide-bandwidth electronics for the recording of ionic currents in the pA range. Dr. Goryll is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2012 as well as numerous teaching awards, including the 2012 Fulton Schools of Engineering Best Teacher Award.

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As the popularity of online education increases, many face-to-face electrical engineering courses are converted to be taught online. ABET outcomes must be considered to maintain equivalency between the online and face-to-face versions. The challenge exists on how to offer online students, who are physically dispersed, the same educational experience as the on-site students in terms of course content, hands-on lab experience, student support and assessment.

This paper will discuss the conversion of a face-to-face 15-week lecture-lab Digital Design Fundamentals course to a 7.5-week equivalent online format. The creation, implementation and evaluation of the course will be discussed, focusing on how equivalency was maintained for the on-site and online versions. Specifically, the equivalency will be described in terms of course materials, hands-on labs, student support and assessment. The same course materials were used in both on-site and online versions. To have the same hands-on lab experience, students purchased an affordable lab kit to set up a home lab and perform the same lab exercises as in an on-campus lab. Piazza, an online Q&A discussion forum, was used to provide students with prompt answers to their questions, equivalent to but more convenient than on-campus office hours. Finally, to give the same assessment to online students as to on-site students, ProctorU, an online proctor service, was used in the final exam.

The online course was first piloted in summer 2014 with 128 students enrolled. Since then, an additional 382 students took the course, which brought the total enrollment to 510 by the end of 2015. Student learning outcomes will be evaluated using an ABET assessment that was given to both on-site and online students. Student retention will be compared using DEW rate. Student perceptions of the course will be addressed based on anonymous teaching evaluations. Recommendations for future improvement will also be discussed.

Wang, C., & Goryll, M. (2016, June), Design and Implementation of an Online Digital Design Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26675

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