Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 24, 2001
June 24, 2001
June 27, 2001
6.674.1 - 6.674.11
Large-scale Synchronous/Asynchronous Collaborative Distributed Learning in a Graduate-Level Computer Engineering Course Luiz A. DaSilva Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Alexandria, VA 22314 USA
Recent advances in telecommunications and network technology, increasing demand for continuing education for industry professionals, and the general mobility and geographic distribution of the population are forcing major changes in both synchronous and asynchronous graduate education. This paper describes the author's experience in teaching a large section of a graduate-level computer engineering course with synchronous lectures to nine locations in Virginia and the numerous supporting mechanisms utilized for communications among students and with the instructor. Results of a survey conducted with all students in the class are analyzed here. We focus on students' experiences with working on a collaborative group research project involving group members in multiple locations. The author concludes that there is value in providing strong encouragement for student involvement across geographies; however, this is a process that will not typically occur naturally, so it requires both careful planning from the instructor and the appropriate set of tools to make active collaboration possible.
Recent advances in telecommunications and network technology, increasing demand for continuing education for industry professionals, and the general mobility and geographic distribution of the population are leading to long-lasting changes in graduate engineering education. The most visible changes have been in the development of online (mostly web-based) courses, with several universities today offering graduate degrees that can be earned entirely asynchronously. The same societal pull is also in the process of forever modifying the way we conduct synchronous graduate learning. This is due to two synergistic factors: the requirement to address the needs of a changing and distributed student population and the opportunity to do so effectively by taking advantage of new technologies now available.
This paper describes the lessons learned in teaching a large section (one hundred and forty-nine students) of a graduate course in computer network architectures. The student population consisted of a heterogeneous mix of traditional full-time students, government and industry professionals and active-duty military personnel; they attended lectures in real time from eight locations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The main concentration of students occurred at the main campus in Blacksburg, VA (64%) and at Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Center (25%), with the other six locations making up the remaining 11%. The exact breakdown of students per location is shown in Figure 1.
Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education
DaSilva, L. (2001, June), Large Scale Synchronous/Asynchronous Collaborative Distributed Learning In A Graduate Level Computer Engineering Course Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/9501
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