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Internet Based Classes And The Paradox Of "Seat Time" In Graduate Level Engineering Management Classes: Some Proposed Solutions

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



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Page Numbers

7.738.1 - 7.738.5



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Walter Tucker

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Bob Lahidji

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Internet-Based Classes and the Paradox of "Seat Time" in Graduate- Level Engineering Management Classes: Some Proposed Solutions

Bob Lahidji, Ph.D., Walter Tucker, Ph.D. Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI 48197


Can pedagogical techniques developed for Internet courses be integrated to enhance "live" classes, and what impact might this have on the "seat time' requirements of those live classes? Electronic technologies are rapidly altering the nature of university-level classes. These changes challenge accepted standards of what constitutes a "class" and its value as expressed in credit hours. Connect time for an Internet course does not equal seat time when most of the work is done offline and asynchronously. We believe that the arbitrary "seat time" requirement for live classes has lost its utility when the live portion of the class can be appropriately complemented with pedagogical tools developed for Internet courses. Using new teaching tools should permit enhanced student outcomes with less "seat time". We propose an ongoing discussion of the paradox of requiring "seat time" in an era of revolutionary opportunity to enhance pedagogy.


The modern university has emerged from its cloistered past and now takes its place in the world as an institution without walls. Bok 1 suggests that by the end of World War II, the image of the ivory tower was obsolete and the university was linked to major institutions in society. In his now-classic description of the modern “multiversity”, Kerr 2 describes the role of the university in “life-long learning”, declares that the “boundaries of the university are stretched to embrace all society”, and is prophetic in his statement that the university can “reach into literally every home”. As society became more urbanized and higher education became more of a necessity for advancement in the workplace, new delivery systems had to be developed. The history of distance learning can be traced back more than a century and during this period a variety of delivery methods have been employed by institutions in distance learning, such as, broadcast and cable televisio n, cassettes, computer based materials, and E mail and Internet. 3 Online delivery of instruction is a logical extension of the university’s mission. A number of factors make the online option attractive; these include competition in higher education, technological

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Tucker, W., & Lahidji, B. (2002, June), Internet Based Classes And The Paradox Of "Seat Time" In Graduate Level Engineering Management Classes: Some Proposed Solutions Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10139

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