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Integrating Case Studies in an Online Asynchronous Learning Environment: An Empirical Study to Evaluate the Effect on Community College Student Learning Outcomes and Engagement when Case Studies are Presented Using Virtual Reality

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Focus on the Classroom: Innovative Pedagogies

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

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Paper Authors


Kapil Chalil Chalil Madathil Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kapil Chalil Madathil’s area of expertise is in applying the knowledge base of human factors engineering to the design and operation of human-computer systems that involve rich interactions among people and technology. His research covers the entire spectrum of system design: from identifying the user needs to designing and developing systems that inform and motivate user behavior and empirically evaluating the efficacy of these interventions. He draws on qualitative and quantitative methodologies including ethnography, contextual inquiry, surveys and controlled behavioral experiments to understand how humans perceive, make sense of, and interact with complex human-machine systems.

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Kristin Kelly Frady Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kris Frady is the Director of Operations for the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development. Additionally, she has earned experience in the corporate sector working with Blackbaud Inc., designing and delivering professional training seminars in online, blended, and live environments. She also has experience in the educational sector in both live and online environments as an adjunct instructor in computer technology for Greenville Technical College and as a Career and Technology Education teacher.

Kris earned a B.S. in Management from Clemson University, a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Business Education from the University of South Carolina, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Technology and online learning from the University of Florida.

Her research interests include implementation of digital learning solutions in technical and vocational education, development of career pathways utilizing stackable certificates, educator professional development in communities of practice, and analysis of economic development and industry factors impacting education and workforce development.

She is a licensed South Carolina Educator and serves on various boards to assist with implementation of workforce development is a statewide model including: the Anderson, Oconee, Pickens Showcase board, the technical college led Partnership for Academic and Career Education, Oconee County Work Ready Community Board of Advisors, and Pickens Career and Technology Center Advisory Board.

In over 10 years in development of educational and training materials Kris has designed and delivered professional development and training courses and seminars for 501-c3 organizations across the United States. Her experience as a professional educator has supported her development of educational resources, knowledge of P-12 and technical college systems and needs, and passion for educating youth. In her role as Director of Operations for the Center for Workforce Development she has guided development and assessment of innovative online educational material and the integration of digital learning and visualization tools. She has been part of a team involved in disseminating those results and models throughout numerous national conferences and peer reviewed conference papers. Finally, as part of an overall team she has worked to develop a system wide support network consisting of all 16 South Carolina technical colleges, state funded organizations, National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Centers across the United States, P-12 schools and districts across South Carolina, and many manufacturing industry partners to create pathways and resources for supporting advanced manufacturing advocacy and opportunities impacting employability and economic development across the Southeast.

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Anand K. Gramopadhye Clemson University

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Dr. Anand K. Gramopadhye’s research focuses on solving human-machine systems design problems and modeling human performance in technologically complex systems such as health care, aviation and manufacturing. He has more than 200 publications in these areas, and his research has been funded by NIH, NASA, NSF, FAA, DOE, and private companies.
Currently, he and his students at the Advanced Technology Systems Laboratory are pursuing cutting-edge research on the role of visualization and virtual reality in aviation maintenance, hybrid inspection and job-aiding, technology to support STEM education and, more practically, to address information technology and process design issues related to delivering quality health care.
As the Department Chair, he has been involved in the initiation of programmatic initiatives that have resulted in significant growth in the Industrial Engineering Program, situating it in the forefront both nationally and internationally. These include the Online Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering Program, the Endowed Chairs Program in Industrial Engineering, Human Factors and Ergonomics Institute and the Clemson Institute for Supply Chain and Optimization and the Center for Excellence in Quality.
For his success, he has been recognized by the NAE through the Frontiers in Engineering Program, and he has received the College’s Collaboration Award and the McQueen Quattlebaum Award, which recognizes faculty for their outstanding research. In addition, Dr. Gramopadhye serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics and on the editorial board for several other journals.

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Jeff Bertrand


Rebecca S Hartley Clemson University Center for Workforce Development

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Rebecca Hartley has spent the past seventeen years working in higher education administration in the areas of undergraduate admissions, graduate admissions, academic records, and student affairs. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy from Auburn University. Prior to joining the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development as the Director of Pathways, she served as Director of Graduate Admissions & Records at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Her research interest and expertise focuses on citizen public opinion as it relates to federal and state public policy. Additionally, her research focus includes how outside political interests affect policy agendas and specifically policy implementation.

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This paper presents the results of an empirical study that evaluated the learning outcomes and student engagement when case studies are presented using virtual reality integrated into an online asynchronous learning environment developed using the Open edX codebase. Virtual reality systems are becoming more frequently used in educational settings primarily because of their ability to provide visualization and interaction within an environment that closely resembles a real-world setting. Both text-based and VR-based case studies were integrated into an online course on workplace safety. The online courses consisted of multiple short video-based lectures with assessments after each. Using a between-subjects experimental design, 109 community college students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: (1) an online course with integrated case studies presented as text and images; (2) an online course with integrated case studies presented as virtual reality content. This latter condition presented the participants with a virtual manufacturing environment, asking them to navigate through it and determine the set of actions needing to be performed when encountering a potential safety infraction. Students were given both pre- and post-tests to measure objective learning outcomes in addition to surveys for evaluating engagement and perceived learning outcomes. Statistically significant differences were found for engagement level and perceived learning outcomes. Thus, the results of this study suggest that presenting case studies using a virtual reality-based system can enhance these two educational priorities.

Chalil Madathil, K. C., & Frady, K. K., & Gramopadhye, A. K., & Bertrand, J., & Hartley, R. S. (2016, June), Integrating Case Studies in an Online Asynchronous Learning Environment: An Empirical Study to Evaluate the Effect on Community College Student Learning Outcomes and Engagement when Case Studies are Presented Using Virtual Reality Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25785

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