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Effectiveness of Online Web-Native Content vs. Traditional Textbooks

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Ashraf Badir P.E. Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Badir is an Associate Professor in the Environmental and Civil Engineering Department at the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering in Florida Gulf Coast University. He earned his B.Sc. (1982) in Civil Engineering and M.Sc. (1985) in Structural Engineering from Alexandria University, Egypt. He also holds a M.Sc. (1989) and a Ph.D. (1992) in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a civil engineering program evaluator for ABET, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

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Jeanette Hariharan Florida Gulf Coast University Orcid 16x16

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Jeanette Hariharan, Ph.D., P.E., is a visiting assistant professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, and IEEE member. Her main concentrations are applications in statistics and machine learning, optics, machine vision, and pattern recognition. System modeling, algorithm development for microcontroller applications, and image processing are also areas of interest. Jeanette did her undergraduate education at Carnegie-Mellon University where she was a double major in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering. She worked as a research assistant for NASA, Langley, for two years after graduation before attending The University of Tennessee Space Institute where she obtained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. She worked for Goodyear Aerospace upon graduation and then after several years attended The University of Akron where she obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. She has worked as a Senior Research Engineer for Lockheed Martin, and as a Principal Engineer for The Timken Bearings Corporation. She taught at Ave Maria University as an Assistant Professor in Physics before joining Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall of 2019 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Bioengineering Department.

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The sudden eruption of a global pandemic has conveyed enormous changes to college campuses. Universities had to suddenly switch to virtual learning and this shift appears to be here awhile. While different disciplines vary in their degree of ease in adapting quickly to a new mode of teaching, the faculty has to be innovative in using available technology to successfully switch to remote teaching, while keeping or increasing even further the efficiency of conveying the content of their courses.

Faculty at xxx University teaching “Computational Tools for Engineering,” a freshman-level 2- credit hour course covering both Microsoft Excel and MATLAB programming, resorted to “zyBooks,” a new kind of learning content, created specifically for the modern web. zyBooks is a web-native interactive content which aims to help students learn challenging topics, with auto-grading that saves instructors time, and leads to better-prepared students in class — putting the fun back in learning. In addition, it uses animations to dynamically illustrate complex concepts. zyBooks can include configurable embedded coding environments that allow students to work with real code, on the fly.

Students are assigned two different types of homework. One homework, entitled “Participation Activity (PA),” is due at the beginning of the class (flipping the class content). The second one, “Challenge Activity (CA)” is due a week after synchronously covering the content of each chapter online by the faculty.

This paper will provide an assessment of students’ performance on quizzes and exams for the MATLAB section of the course taught in Fall 2020, compared to previous semesters where students were taught face-to-face using a traditional textbook. A summary of students’ perceptions will be provided based on extensive surveys and questionnaires comparing web-native interactive content with the use of conventional textbook.

Badir, A., & Hariharan, J. (2021, July), Effectiveness of Online Web-Native Content vs. Traditional Textbooks Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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