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Implementation Of Virtual Study Group And Action Research In Online Construction Management Courses

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Trend in Construction Engineering Education II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.723.1 - 11.723.10



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Paper Authors

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Haiyan Xie University of Arkansas-Little Rock

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James Tramel University of Arkansas-Little Rock

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Wei Shi University of Florida

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Mei Lu Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology

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

Implementation of Virtual Study Group and Action Research in Online Construction Management Courses


Distance learning is now an alternative to traditional correspondence education method used in the construction management courses to allow students more flexibility in their class and work schedules. But without meeting daily in classrooms, students do not have someone with whom to share impressions, problems, and projects around the studies, which can diminish the desire for learning. To resolve the problem of lacking instant feedback from teaching staff or other students, collaborative work and discussion are often encouraged in online-learning context. For construction management courses, helping students to improve their communication skills is especially important. But the virtual study groups need to be carefully designed so that communication between group members can help each other to get considerable amount of support and reach their study goals efficiently. The paper proposed to implement Action Research (AR) in virtual study group to cultivate the communication in Internet-based construction management courses. The AR theory was implemented in the Construction Administration class taught by the author. By regularly talking with the students, instructors could find out if the students understand the knowledge well or if they do the homework by themselves. Case studies were done to observe and analysis students’ study in that class. The case studies in this paper would show that through using AR process, instructors can promote broad participation and support action leading to a more satisfying situation. By implementing AR theory in virtual study groups in construction management courses, collaboration and the quality of the learning context are improved. In a broad sense, by learning the communication and collaboration skills, students could build together social interactions and co-operative networks that will benefit them in their university life.

1. Introduction

Although the traditional programs of education provide students with new knowledge and information of techniques, they fail to satisfy the needs of some students because these students couldn’t find the right courses in a nearby school or because of time confliction between the school schedule and the students’ schedules. Now many schools are providing courses online and Distance Learning is becoming one of the most popular ways to gaining the desired knowledge. There are several options to execute Distance Learning: mail courses, voice (telephone, audio conferencing, tapes and radio), video (slides, videotapes, films, one- or two-way video with two- way audio) and computers (software programs, Internet), etc.1 As Bobendrier pointed: the lack of quality control, inappropriate courses for the Web, unqualified distance class instructors, and lack of interaction are the drawbacks to Internet-based education1. Some students simply cannot succeed without consistent feedback and discussion with instructors and fellow students.

From the online-teaching experience, the author realized that lacking every day’s feedback or contact with other students and teaching staff, student’s motivation level can decrease substantially. In the online learning environment, students feel hard to find other persons to share

Xie, H., & Tramel, J., & Shi, W., & Lu, M. (2006, June), Implementation Of Virtual Study Group And Action Research In Online Construction Management Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1277

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