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Effective Instruction Of An Online Engineering Course

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Simulation and Virtual Instrumentation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.579.1 - 12.579.13



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Uhlig National University


Shekar Viswanathan National University

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Dr. Viswanathan is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Lead Faculty for Engineering Management and Homeland Security and Safety Engineering. He is the Lead for six full time and fifty two adjunct faculty members. His department offers three undergraduate and six graduate programs and has a student population of three hundred students. Dr. Viswanathan is an educator, researcher and administrator with more than twenty-five years of industrial and academic experience encompassing engineering and environmental consulting, research and development, and technology development. His career experience includes teaching at the University level, conducting fundamental research, and developing continuing educational courses.

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John Watson National University

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Howard Evans National University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



On-line engineering education provides a flexible and accessible alternative for busy people who want to pursue higher education. Many higher educational institutions are increasing the visibility of their traditional programs by offering on-line options. Studies have shown that student participation and motivation is different for an on-line course. There are a number of positive attributes including: • Some students are independent learners and may be more productive on- line, • Some personalities are apt to participate more in class discussions if done on-line, in order to overcome the fear of speaking in front of peers, and • Motivated by busy schedule, students are able to complete coursework on their own time. However, questions have been raised whether on-line engineering instruction can be effective as face-to-face instruction. Many academicians debate whether on- line education can effectively communicate the essence of the lecture without compromising on quality. Recent advances made in on-line education, namely course designs, and on-line educational tools, offer a full range of interactive learning environments. More and more instructors have started adapting their courses to on-line models by implementing interactive instructional designs to their courses. As a result, the quality, quantity, and patterns of communication students practice during learning appear to be improving.

This paper discusses ways to instruct on-line engineering course effectively. This paper summarizes various on-line instructional strategies with well-defined pedagogic goals, incorporation of project-based learning concepts, implementation of interactive assessment techniques, and flexible live synchronous tutoring systems. Some of the new technologies that are becoming more prevalent in on-line environment include: • Remote labs where on-line students can participate in real-time hands-on physical experiments remotely, • Blogs/wikis – these tools may substitute for threaded discussion, and • Podcasting – several universities have augmented on-line courses by offering podcasts of discussions or lecture. Pertinent details such as ways to incorporate lecture, assignments and laboratory exercises are summarized. We distinguish between synchronous and asynchronous on-line teaching. The results of our research show that on-line, with some scheduled real-time voice conferencing compares favorably with


Uhlig, R., & Viswanathan, S., & Watson, J., & Evans, H. (2007, June), Effective Instruction Of An Online Engineering Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2965

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