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Learning from the Student Experience: Impact of Shelter-in-Place on the Learning Experiences of Engineering Students at SJSU

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Faculty Development 4: COVID-19's Impact on Students

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Faculty Development Division

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Paper Authors


Patricia R. Backer San Jose State University

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Dr. Backer been a faculty at SJSU since 1990 and held positions as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor, department chair, and director. Since coming to San Jose State University in 1990, she been involved in the General Education program and conducts research into pedagogy and STEM education. Currently, Dr. Backer serves as the PI for SJSU's Title III Strengthening grant both from the U.S. Department of Education.

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Maria Chierichetti San Jose State University Orcid 16x16

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Maria Chierichetti joined the department of Aerospace Engineering as a full-time assistant professor in Fall 2019. Her interests lie in the field of aerospace structural design and vibrations, with particular emphasis on developing methodologies for combining finite element analysis and machine/deep learning for structural health monitoring and unmanned Structural inspections in the context of urban air mobility. Maria is also interested in investigating how students learning is affected by external factors, such as COVID-19 pandemic and community service. Before joining SJSU, she worked as a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her PhD at Georgia Tech in 2012 working on the monitoring and tracking of helicopter blade deformation. She earned a BS and MS from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2004 and 2007 respectively, with majors in Aeronautical Engineering. She is an Amelia Earhart Fellow – Zonta International Foundation.

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Laura E. Sullivan-Green San Jose State University

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Dr. Laura Sullivan-Green is a Professor and Department Chair in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at San José State University. She obtained her BS from the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH) in 2002 and her MS (2005) and PhD (2008) from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). She teaches in the areas of Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Forensic Engineering. Her research interests include evaluating crack age in construction materials, forensic engineering education, and STEM education pedagogy. She serves on the SJSU Academic Senate as the chair of the Instruction and Student Affairs committee and the Forensic Engineering Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Laura is the PI for the Department of Education’s First in the World Grant awarded to San José State University, in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona and California State University- Los Angeles.

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Liat Rosenfeld San Jose State University

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This is a research paper based on an in-depth study of the impact of COVID-19 on students and faculty in the San José State University (SJSU) College of Engineering completed in Spring and Summer 2020. In this paper, we report on the interviews we did with 40 students from the College. In March 2020, SJSU moved all of its classes online for the remainder of the Spring term. Overall, 25 men, 14 women and one binary student were interviewed. The students included freshmen (3 students), sophomores (2 students), juniors (7 students), seniors (11 students) and graduate students (17 students). During the interviews, the students reported more negative experiences with their classes after the move online as compared to positive experiences with 32 of the 39 students reporting at least one negative experience after the move online. The students had many comments related to course content including project work in the Spring 2020 semester (28 students), online tests and exams (27 students), lab issues (23 students) and PowerPoint use and issues (13 students). Also, approximately one-third of the students responded that their instructors did not respond to emails from students. Most students showed appreciation for the efforts that faculty made in the quick transition online. However, the students expressed concerns about the organization of the classes (13 students), the lack of interactivity (9 students) and the availability of lecture videos (9 students). More than half of the students gave recommendations as to how faculty could improve their online classes in Fall 2020. Many faculty, according to the student interviews, were unprepared to teach online. They had difficulties in using the learning management system (LMS), Canvas, as well as Zoom. As well, some faculty would not record their lectures or not post them online. The student comments can give faculty insight into improving their classes in the future.

Backer, P. R., & Chierichetti, M., & Sullivan-Green, L. E., & Rosenfeld, L. (2021, July), Learning from the Student Experience: Impact of Shelter-in-Place on the Learning Experiences of Engineering Students at SJSU Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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