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Faculty Perspectives on the Impact of Virtual Office Hours in Engineering Courses

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: The Remote World

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors

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Brooke-Lynn Caprice Andrade Boise State University


Krishna Pakala Boise State University

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Krishna Pakala, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Boise State University (Boise, Idaho) where he has been since 2012. He is the Faculty in Residence for the Engineering and Innovation Living Learning Community. He is the Director for the Industrial Assessment Center at Boise State University. He served as the inaugural Faculty Associate for Mobile Learning and as the Faculty Associate for Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. He has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming). He has approximately 25 publications/presentations. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is the recipient of David S. Taylor Service to Students Award and Golden Apple Award from Boise State University. He is also the recipient of ASEE Pacific Northwest Section (PNW) Outstanding Teaching Award, ASEE Mechanical Engineering division’s Outstanding New Educator Award and several course design awards. He serves as the campus representative (ASEE) for Boise State University and as the Chair-Elect for the ASEE PNW Section. His academic research interests include innovative teaching and learning strategies, use of emerging technologies, and mobile teaching and learning strategies.

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Diana Bairaktarova Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Diana Bairaktarova is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Through real-world engineering applications, Dr. Bairaktarova’s experiential learning research spans from engineering to psychology to learning sciences, as she uncovers how individual performance is influenced by aptitudes, spatial skills, personal interests and direct manipulation of mechanical objects.

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Douglas Hagemeier Boise State University


Harish Subbaraman Boise State University

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Dr. Harish Subbaraman joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boise State University in the Fall of 2016. Prior to that, he was a senior research scientist at Omega Optics in Austin, TX, where he worked on printed and flexible photonics and electronics; and silicon and polymer based optical interconnects. He completed his B.E. in Electronics and Communication from Chaitanya Bharathi Institute Of Technology in India. He earned his M.S. in 2006 and his Ph.D. in 2009, both in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Subbaraman's current research areas include ink-jet printing and silicon nanomembrane based flexible electronic and photonic devices; fiber-optic sensors; optical true-time-delay; phased array antennas; RF photonics; polymer photonics; and slow-light photonic crystal waveguides. He has served as a PI and Co-PI on several federal and state grants. Dr. Subbaraman has 6 issued and pending patents and has over 130 publications in refereed journals and conferences. He is a member of SPIE, OSA, and a senior member of IEEE.

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Instructor-student interaction is an important element of a course design, but office hours can be challenging to attend based on students’ commitments. They have time and space limitations that prevent students from getting the help they need and often garner poor attendance. Virtual office hours can address issues related to low attendance and provide a low stakes environment where unhindered learning can happen. Virtual office hours are flexible, yield productive interactions, and all enrolled students can participate. This study reports on three engineering instructors’ perspectives on the efficacy of virtual office hours compared to the traditional face-to-face interactions with the confines of an office room. These classes ranged from sophomore to junior level covering two classes in mechanical engineering and one in electrical and computer engineering, taught over a period of at least a semester and impacting about 150 students across these disciplines. These sessions were held in the evening, twice a week. Information on the logistics of the implementation of the virtual office hours and key details, such as how instructors selected the best time for these sessions, content presentation, and the type of interactions that occurred during the virtual office hours are discussed in this paper. This study’s goals were to find out how virtual office hours impacted engineering student’s learning, whether such an exercise is an efficient use of the students’ and the instructor’s time, and the differences between traditional and virtual office hours. The instructors’ perspectives were gathered via interview after implementing virtual office hours for at least a semester. Analysis of the interviews concluded that the implementation of virtual office hours was mutually beneficial to both the instructors and the students.

Andrade, B. C., & Pakala, K., & Bairaktarova, D., & Hagemeier, D., & Subbaraman, H. (2020, June), Faculty Perspectives on the Impact of Virtual Office Hours in Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34664

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