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Experience in Moving Information and Computer Technology Courses Online

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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

Computing and Information Technology Division Technical Session 3

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Computing and Information Technology

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Peng Li East Carolina University

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The COVID-19 outbreak brought tremendous challenges to the higher education institutions. Many colleges have moved most or all courses online, at least temporarily. New technologies make it easier to deliver courses remotely. It is expected that the share of hybrid and online courses will grow with or without the outbreak. However, the outbreak is likely to accelerate the changes. The demand to move from traditional learning to hybrid or online learning may be even higher in computing and information technology programs.

This paper will show the experience in moving from traditional, in-person classroom approach to hybrid and online approach in our Information and Computer Technology Program. Strategies of converting in-person courses to hybrid or online courses will be discussed. The student population in our program is composed of in-person, face-to-face (F2F) students and online, distance education (DE) students. Many courses offer both F2F and DE sections. One of the challenges was to deliver hands-on labs online. The emergence of virtualization and cloud computing technologies facilitated our transition from classic physical laboratory to online virtual laboratory. Both F2F students and DE students are doing most labs online now. F2F students are already taking many courses in hybrid mode. Automatic grading and immediate feedback are implemented in some labs. Student lab workers are hired to support open labs on campus and remotely.

The students in F2F, hybrid and online sections of the same course should achieve the same learning outcomes. It is important to define learning outcomes when designing the course. The outcomes should be measurable. The more detailed the learning outcomes are, the easier it is to convert offline teaching to online teaching. We need to identify where the difficult points are for students to achieve the learning outcomes. In different courses, different tools are used to address these difficult points.

It is important to recognize the differences between online learning and offline learning and take full advantage of online learning tools. Most online tools support asynchronous communication, allowing more time for students to digest information. Effective interactions can be achieved online when timely feedback is provided.

The performance of students in our online sections was comparable or slightly better than that of students in F2F sections. While there are many contributing factors, the quality of learning in online courses is clearly comparable to that of learning in F2F courses. There are challenges when moving traditional courses online. Many challenges can be addressed by designing courses smartly and utilizing appropriate technologies.

Li, P. (2021, July), Experience in Moving Information and Computer Technology Courses Online Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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