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Managing A Distance Learning Eet Laboratory Course Using Collaboration Software

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Multimedia and Distance Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1031.1 - 12.1031.11



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Paper Authors


Steve Hsiung Old Dominion University

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STEVE C. HSIUNG Steve Hsiung is an associate professor of electrical engineering technology
at Old Dominion University. Prior to his current position, Dr. Hsiung had worked for Maxim
Integrated Products, Inc., Seagate Technology, Inc., and Lam Research Corp., all in Silicon
Valley, CA. Dr. Hsiung also taught at Utah State University and California University of
Pennsylvania. He earned his BS degree from National Kauhsiung Normal University in 1980, MS
degrees from University of North Dakota in 1986 and Kansas State University in 1988, and a PhD
degree from Iowa State University in 1992.

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John Hackworth Old Dominion University

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JOHN R. HACKWORTH is Program Director for the Electrical Engineering Technology program at Old Dominion University. He holds a B. S. Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University. Prior to joining Old Dominion University, John had about 20 years of industrial experience. He is one of a few faculty members holding the special designation of University Professor.

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Richard Jones Old Dominion University

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RICHARD L. JONES has been teaching at ODU since 1994. His areas of interest include digital and linear systems including hybrid circuits as well as microprocessor interfaces and controllers. In addition, his current research activities are in the field of teaching labs via the Internet. Mr. Jones is a retired United States Navy Submarine Service Lt. Commander with sub-specialties in Ballistic Missile, Torpedo, Sonar, and Radio systems. Mr. Jones has previously taught Mechanical Engineering Design at the United States Military Academy (ARMY), West Point , N.Y., and Electrical Engineering at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. He holds an ASEET from Cameron University, a BSEET from Oklahoma State University, and a Master of Engineering in Electronics Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California.

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June Ritchie Old Dominion University

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JUNE RITCHIE is a Senior Instructional Designer and Instructor for the Center for Learning Technologies in the Old Dominion University Office of Distance Learning. She joined the staff of Old Dominion University in 1999.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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. 10.18260/1-2--2218

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