San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.409.1 - 25.409.12
Education Innovation in the Virginia Tech Nuclear Engineering CurriculumVirginia Tech restarted its nuclear engineering program in the Fall of 2007. The program hasgrown from a class enrollment of 60 students to about 200 students in 2009. When we restartedour program, we took the opportunity to be innovative and find ways to differentiate our programfrom other programs nationwide. In addition, we targeted the nuclear industry within Virginia byoffering the majority of our graduate nuclear engineering curriculum via distance learning. Weinitially started with live video teleconferencing to remote sites and recorded lectures for delayedplayback. However, students with extensive travel schedule or a heavy work load during theweek have been unable to take these classes. In addition, we have received many frequentrequests to transmit classes to sites that cannot support high resolution live videoteleconferencing. This paper presents the development and implementation of our onlinegraduate nuclear engineering courses using asynchronous and synchronous technologies with theeducation grant from Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Discussion focuses on theinstructional design employed which is informed by theories, principles, and heuristics that havebeen validated for adult education by cognitive science and/or empirical educational research(Hofer, 2009; Wlodkowski, 1999, 2003) and processes used by the Virginia Tech Institute ofDistance and Distributed Learning (IDDL) that relies on a structured life cycle methodology foronline course development. Conclusions will review where we are at with regard to coursedesign and delivery, the number of students reached through online offerings, and students’perceptions of their online learning environment. In Fall 2009, we started using an open source course management system for delivery andmanagement of our course materials. This has allowed us to incorporate social software featuressuch as blogs, discussion forums, chat rooms, and wikis to promote greater interaction betweenstudents during learning, processing of information, and problem solving. Not only do thesetechnologies aid the student in learning, but they also aid interaction with the instructor. Forexample, the chat room feature is used for virtual office hours and blogs and forums take theplace of email conversations. In addition, new software features allow recording videos andpodcasts on various topics that may not be covered in the lecture. For example, additional onlinehelp is provided for helping students get up to speed on necessary math skills for solvingproblems.Hofer, B. (2009). Motivation in the college classroom. In W. J. McKeachie & M. Svinicki(Eds.), MeKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and universityteachers (pp. 140–150). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Wlodkowski, R. J. (1999). Enhancing adult motivation to learn: A comprehensive guide forteachingall adults, 2nd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.Wlodkowski, R. J. (2003). Fostering motivation in professional development programs. NewDirections for Adult and Continuing Education, 98, 39–47.
Hall, S., & Amelink, C. T., & Hu, D. (2012, June), Designing and Implementing an Online Offering of a Nuclear Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21167
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