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E-learning and Assessment in the Cloud: Engineering Courses

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Teaching and Learning in Online Environments

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Stefanos Papanikolaou West Virginia University

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Dr. Papanikolaou is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Department of Physics (Adjunct) of West Virginia University. Dr. Papanikolaou received his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Papanikolaou’s primary research interest is in statistical and multiscale physical modeling approaches of mechanical behavior of materials. The aim is to develop reduced-order models and machine learning approaches to provide non-trivial classification of large data sets. His main teaching interests are crystal plasticity, statistical mechanics, gas dynamics and kinetic theory, numerical methods in engineering, thermodynamics, solid mechanics, mechanics of materials. He is also interested in developing online courses and using online tools for facilitating active learning techniques in engineering classrooms.

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Evidence-Based Practice Consideration: Modern technology allows educational systems to facilitate novel feedback approaches between students and teachers. Various tools and approaches have emerged in the recent years with various levels of documented success in student learning. Consequently, it has become widespread that classroom teaching may be assisted by distance learning technologies (eg. web tools), especially with respect to reducing the intense reliance on in-class teaching and manually supervised grading. In addition, similar to other aspects of societal development, educational technology innovations that pass the test of time, have the feature of being constantly updated and archived. In particular, intense updating and maintenance are required not only in the educational front format that students and instructors see, but also in the capacity and speed of Cloud storage functions that may be relevant and accessible for multiple student generations. In this context, a major tool that has the potential of becoming indispensable is the Google Suite for Education. We report on an evidence-based practice study that has been carried out in the Engineering service course for Juniors, Introduction to Thermodynamics, to assess the effectiveness of the E-Learning environment Google-Classroom into facilitating classroom teaching. We discuss diverse ways of leveraging such technology in the classroom, its benefits, but also possible concerns in the implementation if not well thought out. In this paper, we focus on the use of an integrated online homework delivery system based upon the Google online ecosystem, an integrated online delivery system for weekly quizzes that follow the formats and guidelines of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) national examination for professional engineers, as well as an integrated system of virtual lectures and office hours. Student performance was tracked weekly for 12 weeks throughout one semester. We present, statistics and comparisons, week after week, from student grades in administered quizzes, homeworks, as well as student assessment and overall insights from the pilot use of this framework towards improvements in other inter-disciplinary, large-audience courses in engineering classrooms. We find that the semester-long student performance in FE-like quizzes was strongly correlated to the final exam grade percentage and also, the final grade percentage. We also find that a spurious peak in the statistical histograms was associated to student integrity issues that were effectively and efficiently mitigated in subsequent quizzes. The framework's versatility allows students to be constantly aware of their performance regarding learning objectives, while at the same time, it helps them identify areas that require more attention. Also, the instructor has a new level of control over the course, its grading and feedback, as well as innovative approaches to preserving academic integrity. These features make this online-assisted educational framework an effective educational tool for learning in both large classrooms and online courses, where students may reach a new level of learning and understanding.

Papanikolaou, S. (2020, June), E-learning and Assessment in the Cloud: Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34485

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