June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Ocean and Marine
12.554.1 - 12.554.15
Distance learning in the graduate-level ocean engineering curriculum
Virginia Tech is an established leader in distance learning with 85% of departments offering some form of electronic courses 1 . The graduate level Ocean Engineering curriculum is fully available to off-campus students, thus allowing professionals anywhere in the world to earn an MS degree. The MS in Ocean Engineering was the first program in engineering at VT to be entirely available online. In this paper the authors present their implementation strategies, successes, and weaknesses in delivering the graduate-level curriculum online, with specific discussion of the pros and cons of synchronous and asynchronous lecture formats. The authors also describe different formulations of a single, on-campus, capstone experience required of all distance-learning students with emphasis upon strategies that lead to greatest student success. Quantitative student perceptions of eLearning in the OE curriculum are presented.
1.0 History of the Online Ocean Engineering Program at Virginia Tech
The roots of this distance-learning program go back to a request from officials at Newport News Shipbuilding (now Northrup-Grumman Newport News) for Ocean Engineering courses through the Virginia Consortium of Engineering and Science (VCES) program at Hampton, VA, in late summer of 1997. The first class was offered in the Spring of 1998.
The Ocean Engineering program at Virginia Tech deals largely with the design of ships. There are only five civilian schools in the country that offer ship design programs. Potential students for a ship design graduate program work at locations spread along the country’s coastlines but without a critical mass in any one location to support a local program. Because of this, the potential for a successful distance-learning program in this field existed. In the Fall of 1998, a second site was established at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division. At this point, two classes were being offered one night per week using video teleconferencing among three sites; VCES, Carderock, and the Virginia Tech main campus in Blacksburg, VA.
At that time, very few engineering classes – from anywhere – were being offered in a distance- learning mode. The problem was that the resolution of the video teleconferencing medium was too poor to deliver the equation-intensive material in these courses. The instructors would have to write equations in large characters in order to be legible over the TV and were often frustrated by the small amount they could fit on one screen. Students had no way of pointing to or interacting with the mathematical material the professor was presenting. Demonstration of software via video was also very difficult due to the low resolution. With the advent of enabling software, delivery of this type of material via the internet became possible. At first, computers and computer projection equipment at the remote sites were used as a sort of electronic blackboard. Later, delivery was directly to individual desktops.
In the Fall of 1999, a third site was established at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS (now, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ Ingalls Operations). At this point, the success of the program
Brown, A., & Hughes, O., & McCue, L., & Neu, W., & Tretola, B. (2007, June), Distance Learning In The Graduate Level Ocean Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1487
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015