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Implementation Of Tablet Pc Technology In Me 2024 Engineering Design And Economics At Virginia Tech

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Re-Imagining the Higher Ed Classroom -- Tablet PCs

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.703.1 - 13.703.18



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Paper Authors

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Dewey Spangler Virginia Western Community College


Kimberly Filer Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Kim Filer is currently a graduate research assistant on Virginia Tech’s Tablet PC Initiative assessment team in the College of Engineering. She is pursuing her doctorate in Educational Research and Evaluation. Her research interests include social capital theory and its implications for higher level mathematics and science course taking. She earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Maryland and a master’s in gifted education from The Johns Hopkins University.

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

Implementation of Tablet PC Technology in ME 2024 – Engineering Design and Economics at Virginia Tech


The education of engineering students at Virginia Tech is a dynamic process adapting to meet the demands of the industry. Engineering students participate in basic problem solving and hands-on experiences representing the essence of the engineering profession. New engineering tools, a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of engineers to society and the environment, and an appreciation for the diverse and global nature of the workplace are continually incorporated into the engineering curriculum (Gilbert, 2003).

For incoming freshman in 2006, a Tablet PC computing initiative mandated the purchase of a Tablet rather than the previously required laptop. The initiative is supported by an alliance between Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, Fujitsu Computer Systems Corportation, and Microsoft Corporation offering students higher levels of hardware and software purchasing power and support. A current technology, the Tablet PC incorporates the portability of the laptop with the flexibility of writing. In conventional notebook mode, the Tablet PC offeres a keyboard for typing. When the screen is rotated it transforms into a tablet, and using a stylus students can make handwritten notes and drawings.

Due to the Tablet PC initiative, in fall 2007 sophomore students with the declared major of mechanical engineering (approximately 300 to 350 total) have Tablet PCs. In an attempt to utilize this emerging technology, a pilot study was conducted by the Mechanical Engineering department to integrate Tablet PC functionality with course material in two sections of ME 2024 – Engineering Design and Economics. With the special capabilities of the Tablet PC, it is important to understand how the Tablet PC is an improvement from the previously required laptops. Some anticipated benefits of the Tablet PC include: improved notetaking, ability to highlight and annotate key points, increased classroom interaction, the facilitation of student inquiry, simplified drawing in support of concepts, and increased communication for group work. While it is important for the College of Engineering to stay current with technology, the engineering departments and their faculty have a vested interest to examine how this new technology is changing classroom teaching and student learning. While the overall value of technology to undergraduate instruction is now widely recognized, emergent technologies must still be carefully examined to insure their contribution to student learning; therefore, this study includes an assessment component to measure student learning strategies.

ME 2024 is required for sophomore mechanical engineering students and provides an introduction to product development and design. Seven to eight sections of ME 2024 are offered in the fall semester of each academic year with two sections offered in the spring. Class sections are limited to 30 to 36 students to facilitate personalized instruction. Often students from other engineering disciplines such as industrial, civil, and construction engineering take ME 2024 for elective credit. In this course, strong team collaboration and technical writing skills are developed with an introduction to topics such as project management, industrial design,

Spangler, D., & Filer, K. (2008, June), Implementation Of Tablet Pc Technology In Me 2024 Engineering Design And Economics At Virginia Tech Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3361

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