June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1031.1 - 12.1031.11
Managing a Distance-Learning EET Laboratory Course Using Collaboration Software
Methods of managing various distance learning EET laboratory courses using collaboration software are detailed. Particular emphasis is given to different types of collaboration software, advantages and disadvantages of each, and student and faculty feedback on the effectiveness of each.
As part of Old Dominion University's distance education program, the Electrical Engineering Technology program offers several on-line (web-based) laboratory courses. In an effort to give the distance education students an equitable educational experience and facilitate course assessment, the on-line laboratory courses are structured so that students perform the same experiments and submit the same deliverables as their on-campus counterparts.
However, although the ODU EET faculty attempt to make the on-campus and off-campus laboratory courses as equivalent as possible, because of logistical differences, the courses simply cannot be made identical.1 The on-campus student has an apparent advantage over the distance education student in that he/she is part of a physical community with ready access to the university laboratory facilities, the instructor, and fellow students. Similarly, the instructor has easy access to the circuitry designed by the student, thereby apparently making the correction of any mistake, evaluation of student performance, and grading relatively easy. Providing a similar environment to a distance education student is more of a challenge. It is the purpose of this paper to concentrate on the evolution of methods implemented at Old Dominion University that help to "level the playing field" for both the distance education student and the instructor in an e- learning community,11 so that the educational experience and student assessment are identical or at least as similar as possible to that for the on-campus student.
In this paper, particular attention is given to collaboration software. Many variations of collaboration software (both free and licensed) are currently available such as Blackboard Virtual Classroom (Backboard, Inc.), NetMeeting (Microsoft Corporation), Messenger (Yahoo!, Inc.), Skype (Skype Limited), and Acrobat Connect Professional (Adobe Systems Incorporated, formerly named Macromedia Breeze). In this particular study, Blackboard, NetMeeting, and Acrobat Connect were chosen because of their voice, video, whiteboard, and application sharing features that are essential to the on-line laboratory exercises, and their availability at the institution. Each of these software packages has been used by the authors, and quantitative data has been collected and analyzed, and is presented in the form of student performance, student feedback, and learning achievement results.
Additionally, further discussion in this paper outlines how collaboration software is used to enable each facet of the course, and the suitability of each software solution (both pros and cons) to implement each facet.
Hsiung, S., & Hackworth, J., & Jones, R., & Ritchie, J. (2007, June), Managing A Distance Learning Eet Laboratory Course Using Collaboration Software Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2218
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