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Experiences In Teaching An Online Course In Information Technology

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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



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Page Numbers

6.484.1 - 6.484.13

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William Plymale

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Scott Midkiff

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Luiz DaSilva

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

Session 1658

Experiences in Teaching an Online Course in Information Technology

Scott F. Midkiff, Luiz A. DaSilva, William O. Plymale Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 USA


Virginia Tech initiated a Master of Information Technology degree program in Fall 1998 and began online delivery of the program in Fall 2000. One of the first of three online courses offered in Fall 2000 was “Fundamentals of Computer Systems” which was developed and taught by the authors of this paper. The online version of the course was offered on a standard semester schedule and had due dates approximately every week, but was otherwise asynchronous. The initial and ongoing development and management of the course follows a model that is different than the traditional single-faculty instructor course model. There are five roles in this model: (1) course developers or content experts, (2) instructional designers, (2) course supervisor or “instructor of record,” (3) distance learning instructors, and (5) technical support personnel. In this paper, the authors share their experiences as course developers, course supervisor, and learning leaders for the “Fundamentals of Computer Systems” course. The paper discusses the course objectives, course design and delivery mechanisms, teaching and learning experiences, and “lessons learned” from the first offering of the course.

I. Introduction

To address workforce needs and to meet the growing demand for advanced course work in information technology (IT), Virginia Tech began a Master of Information Technology (MIT) degree and certificate program in 1998.1,2 The program is unique, at least for our university, in several key features.

• This single degree program is offered jointly by five departments in three colleges, specifically the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering, the Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, the Department of Management Science and Information Technology and the Department of Management in the Pamplin College of Business. Representatives from these departments are members of a steering committee that sets policy, monitors course offerings, makes admission decisions, etc.

• The program format is modular. Students are required to complete 30 semester hours of course work, including four common foundation courses and three two-course modules in specialization areas such as networking, software development, and business information systems. As shown in Figure 1, one of the foundation courses is “Fundamentals of Computer Systems,” which is the subject of this paper.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Plymale, W., & Midkiff, S., & DaSilva, L. (2001, June), Experiences In Teaching An Online Course In Information Technology Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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