June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.989.1 - 12.989.7
Is it Real or is it Memorex?: A Distance Learning Experience
Distance learning in engineering education is becoming more prevalent. The literature in educational research extensively covers technology issues. This paper focuses more on the pedagogical issues related to student-instructor interactions, and other issues that both the instructors and students can face in this distance learning environment that are unique and different from the traditional classroom. The constant challenge is to maintain at least the same learning environment as the traditional classroom and, if opportunities arise, enhance the learning environment whenever possible. The venue for discussing these topics is a typical engineering course offering during the summer term of 2006 in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Earning a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) completely through distance learning has been an option at the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech for about ten years. Since its inception in 1996, nearly 720 graduate students have chosen this option and, to date, approximately 158 individuals have graduated through the program.
The admission standards for students applying for the distance learning option are exactly the same as on-campus students. Students participate in the same courses as their on-campus counterparts. There is no distinction in the degree awarded or the annotations on the transcript.
The selection of course work for completing the distance learning MSME degree is quite robust. Each term approximately twelve to fifteen courses are offered via the distance option. Exactly like their on-campus colleagues, distance learning graduate students must complete thirty hours of course work (normally 10 courses). This course work must meet the guidelines published in the Georgia Tech General Catalog and the Woodruff School Graduate Handbook to qualify for the awarding of the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) degree.
Distance learning and on-campus graduate students register for the same courses and participate in the same lectures. Classes are integrated so that there are no “distance only” course offerings. This common experience captures the sentiment of the title for this paper “Is it Real or is it Memorex?” In this manner, the learning experience for the distance learning and on-campus students is the same.
Delivery of the course material to the distance learning students is asynchronous. Historically the completion of graded material for the distance learning students has been on a two-week delay. This delay allows for the delivery of course material and provides some flexibility with the work schedules of the off-campus students who are often working full-time while completing their studies.
Whiteman, W., & Mathews, B. (2007, June), Is It Real Or Is It Memorex: A Distance Learning Experience Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1477
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