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Interactive Computer Based Virtual Classroom For Engineering Courses

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Web-Based Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.941.1 - 12.941.11



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Paper Authors

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Ahmed Abu-Hajar San Francisco State University

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Michael Holden San Francisco State University

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

Interactive Computer-Based Virtual Classrooms for

Engineering Courses Abstract

New paradigms in engineering education have emerged in recent years. These educational models emphasize a visual lecturing style and correspond with the growing trend of online courses. A main objective in modernizing engineering education is bridging the gap between academia and industry1-4. We propose a new teaching approach, based on these paradigms, that is specially designed for engineering courses. We have developed interactive, self-paced computer-based lectures in which students learn abstract concepts on their own. In this approach, classrooms have been allocated for problem solving, student-teacher interaction, and industry- related applications. The proposed teaching methodology combines the constructivist approach—which enables students to acquire knowledge meaningful to them through interaction —and the objectivist approach—in which students passively receive information via computer- based lectures. Computer Based Virtual Classroom (CBVC)—a computer program that mimics traditional classrooms by presenting lectures in chronological order, an approach critical to the success of engineering curriculums—was developed as a new educational model. CBVC employs computer animation and other virtual visual tools that cannot be employed in traditional classroom settings. In CBVC, interactive questions are integrated within lectures—a model that reinforces the assimilation of fundamental topics. Surveys conducted on the efficacy of CBVC show that 80% of students questioned benefit from using CBVC, and 20% believe CBVC may replace conventional classrooms.

1. Introduction

At present, many engineering courses mandate the use of computers1.. Computers are increasingly playing a major role in the learning process, and the number of college students who own a computer is on the rise. The OpenCourseWare (OCW) Program at MIT2—an internationally recognized computer-based lectures’ program—provides a variety of online courses to the public for free. Not all educators embrace the virtual classroom model. There are those that question the effectiveness of computer-based lectures. Some are concerned that computer-based courses will replace traditional classrooms. There is a rift between traditional educators known as objectivists and contemporary educators known as constructivists3. Objectivists question the effectiveness of replacing traditional classrooms settings with online courses. The objectivist standpoint supports a learning process led by the instructor in which students passively receive information, as in a conventional classroom setting. Objectivists support the model in which instructors interact with students during lecture by asking questions and generating discussions and dialogues. In this approach, instructors sense the students’ comprehension on the fly and adjust their lectures accordingly. The objectivist approach calls for the instructor to lead the learning process and ease the challenges of learning abstract topics.

Abu-Hajar, A., & Holden, M. (2007, June), Interactive Computer Based Virtual Classroom For Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2481

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