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Effectiveness Of A Web Centric Ceramics Course

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.406.1 - 6.406.5



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

Session 3464

Effectiveness of a Web-Centric Ceramics Course Craig Johnson Central Washington University


The objective of this effort was to effectively use a computer-based educational environment with traditional methods in executing an upper level materials course. Some constraints included a minimum contact time of one hour (out of four total), and the development and application of appropriate computer-based infrastructure. Motivation for this effort came from many areas including current education philosophy, politics and personal interest. Seed money was available for faculty interested in expanding the format of the class to include a web-based forum. It was intended that the results of this effort be applied to other appropriate courses in the future.

A four credit elective course was chosen (MET483 Ceramics and Composites) for implementation. The class was comprised of mechanical engineering technology, electronic engineering technology, and industrial technology students. One quarter of the class meetings was committed to computer-based education. A virtual environment was created to support the objectives of the course. One area allowed threaded discussions to occur. The discussions were generated via questions and case studies. The scenarios included material data collection, material selection, material source selection, and case studies in material design. The course was first offered in the spring of 2000. The computer system required orientation, and at least one round of feedback before it was operational. Seven (of ten) Fridays were declared ‘virtual days’ and work was required by the following Monday. Live feedback was possible, and Monday debriefings were held in conjunction with traditional lectures. Wednesdays were targeted for traditional laboratory exercises.

The students’ interests and the ease of Internet-access led to an increased variety and depth of effort in assignments compared to similar courses. Students could interact asynchronously, which generated a synergy that encouraged interesting interdisciplinary discussions. Timely class discussions and feedback helped motivate the less self-directed students.

Implementing this web-centric course caused minimum impact to the program and measurable impact to the educational environment. A similar effort is planned for another elective course MET382 Plastics and Composites.


Web-based education is a growing field and is making an impact at all levels. The recent report of the Web-based Education Commission 1 states: “The power of the Internet to transform the

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Johnson, C. (2001, June), Effectiveness Of A Web Centric Ceramics Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9164

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