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Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Online Team and Activity-based Introduction to Engineering Course

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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

First-year Programs Division Technical Session 6: Hands-on Projects and Spatial Skills

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.472.1 - 26.472.27



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Paper Authors


Benjamin Emery Mertz Arizona State University

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Dr. Benjamin Mertz received his Ph. D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2005. He is currently a part of a lecturer team at Arizona State University that focuses on the first-year engineering experience, including developing and teaching the Introduction to Engineering course. He also teaches Thermo-Fluids and High Speed Aerodynamics for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at ASU. His interests include student pathways and motivations into engineering and developing lab-based curriculum. Recently, he has developed an interest in non-traditional modes of content delivery including online classes and flipped classrooms.

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Haolin Zhu Arizona State University

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Haolin Zhu is a faculty lecturer in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics from Cornell University. Currently she focuses on the freshmen engineering program, as well as designing and teaching mechanical engineering courses.

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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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ASEE 2015 Seattle Abstract Design, Implementation and Evaluation of an Online Team and Activity-Based Introduction to Engineering CourseAs the popularity of online education in engineering increases, project- and team-based classestaught in classrooms must be converted into equivalent online versions. In order to maintainequivalency, content and ABET outcomes must be considered. This is especially difficult whenon-ground classes are based on hands-on team activities and projects. The scalability of coursesalso must be considered due to the growing demand for engineering courses in the onlineenvironment.This paper will discuss the creation process, implementation and evaluation of an onlineIntroduction to Engineering course adapted from a largely team- and lab-based on-groundversion. The epistemic framework and structure of the course will be discussed, focusing on itsteaming and hands-on nature. Specifically, the design and implementation of teamworkthroughout the course will be described, with a focus on the final team project, which consists ofmembers designing, building, and testing musical instruments amid constraints that limit theirdesigns based on the designs of other team members.The first two offerings of this 7.5-week course took place during Fall 2013 with more than 110students, most of whom were non-traditional students working in an engineering-relatedindustry. Since then more than 300 students have gone through this course. The course’seffectiveness and students’ perceptions of the course and their teaming experience will beaddressed based on data collected from course-evaluation surveys and comments from projectdeliverables, team discussion logs, and team effectiveness assessment surveys.Recommendations for similar courses and strategies that can be used to scale this team andactivity-based course while maintaining course quality, effectiveness, and student learningexperience will also be addressed.

Mertz, B. E., & Zhu, H., & Wang, C. (2015, June), Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of an Online Team and Activity-based Introduction to Engineering Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23810

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