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Keeping up With Technology: Transitioning Summer Bridge to a Virtual Classroom

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Diversity Redefined: Nontraditional Views in Traditional Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.5.1 - 24.5.14



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Paper Authors


Kendra Woodberry Brinkley Virginia Commonwealth University

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Mrs. Brinkley received a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia in May 2009. In August of the same year she joined Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) seeking a Ph.D. in Chemical and Life Science Engineering. She was awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for her dedication during TA assignments, and a GANN fellowship. She earned her master’s degree in the fall semester of 2011 and intends on completing her Ph.D. in December of 2014. Kendra is as dedicated to research as she is to education. As a doctoral student, she developed and taught a new Chemical and Life Science Engineering (CLSE) course for VCU freshmen CLSE majors. She also taught a summer chemistry class for the VCU Summer Transition Program which is an NSF funded preparatory program for incoming underrepresented minority STEM majors.

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Falcon Rankins Virginia Commonwealth University

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Stevara Clinton Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Chemistry


Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves has been at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1996. Dr. Hargraves holds a joint appointment in the Schools of Engineering and Education where she is Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests are K-16 STEM education, biomedical signal and image processing with machine learning and international development STEM activities. She served as the Engineering Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for five years and in 2003 she was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of
Science Diplomacy Fellowship.

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Keeping Up With Technology: Transitioning Summer Bridge to a Virtual Classroom For decades colleges and universities have used summer bridge programs to ease thetransition of incoming freshmen academically and culturally into their new educational setting.These programs typically targeted students traditionally underrepresented in the science,technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. While statistically such on-campusprograms have proven effective, increasing the retention and success of minority students in theSTEM fields; they have been largely constrained by an institution’s ability to financially supportthem. They typically demand extensive financial and administrative support; even whenservicing a small number of students (20-40 students). With the rapid growth of educational andcourse management technology it is reasonable to consider using such tools for implementationof a summer bridge program, ideally decreasing the costs of such programs withoutcompromising the end result. As part of the Virginia-North Carolina Alliance for Minority Participation, VirginiaCommonwealth University (VCU), following the lead of its partner institution George MasonUniversity, launched its inaugural Online Summer Transition Program during the summer of2013. Program facilitators utilized an intelligent tutoring system, ALEKS, as well as universitycourse management software to implement and expand the enrollment of its summer bridgeprogram. The use of a virtual classroom allowed students to access course material throughoutthe summer at their leisure and subsequently taught the importance of self-motivation, and timemanagement. However, financial incentives were used to motivate students to complete theactivities by the end of the summer. Our research explores VCU’s efforts to transform this once on-campus learningenvironment into a virtual classroom. We, further, explore the notion that the virtual classroomnot only offers the same advantages as a traditional classroom but develops a class of studentswho are self-motivated, self-reliant and are able to actively participate in their education.

Brinkley, K. W., & Rankins, F., & Clinton, S., & Hargraves, R. H. (2014, June), Keeping up With Technology: Transitioning Summer Bridge to a Virtual Classroom Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19893

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