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New Instructors Perspectives on Remote Teaching Methods

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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

Perspectives on Engineering Education During COVID-19

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Ahmed Dallal University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Dallal is an assistant professor at the department of electrical and computer engineering, Unversity of Pittsburgh, since August 2017. Dr. Dallal primary focus is on education development and innovation. His research interests include biomedical signal processing, biomedical image analysis, and computer vision, as well as machine learning, networked control systems, and human-machine learning.

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Mohamed A. S. Zaghloul University of Pittsburgh

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Mohamed A. S. Zaghloul was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1987. He received his B.E. degree in Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering in 2009, and his M.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics in 2012, both from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University. In 2019, he received a Ph.D. from the Electrical and Computer Engineering department of the University of Pittsburgh, in developing optical fiber sensors for monitoring harsh environments. Since 2019, he has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in the same department of the same school. Zaghloul is a recipient of multiple research and teaching awards, and since 2016 he has been appointed to the Postgraduate Research Program at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) administered through Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

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Amr Hassan University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Amr Hassan (also know as Amr Mahmoud) received his B.Sc. degree in Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering and the M.Sc degree in Engineering Physics from Cairo University, Egypt, in 2011 and
2015, respectively. He earned his PhD in Computer Engineering from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor with the same department, since August 2019. Dr. Hassan's primary focus is on education development and innovation. His Research interests include, but not limited to: Machine Learning, especially Deep Learning, for Image Processing and Video Prediction, Neuromorphic Computing Systems and its applications.

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With the transition to remote learning due to the spread of COVID-19, there have been inconsistencies among instructors on how to deliver remote instructions for their classes. Instructors have had their own motivations to pursue a particular remote teaching approach. These motivations vary between personal preferences and class-driven factors. However, most of these approaches fit under two main paradigms: synchronous instructions, and asynchronous (flipped) instructions. Both approaches have their pros and cons. The synchronous lecturing approach is the closest to the traditional lecturing model. In synchronous lectures, new concepts are presented during the online lecture time, and the students apply that learning through homework assignments. Thus, it is easier to manage and prepare for a synchronous classroom than an asynchronous classroom. However, working remotely challenged this traditional approach, and instructors needed to consider other factors. Working from home added plenty of challenges and distractors to the students that were not present in a physical classroom. With ample distractors, the attention span of most students dropped below normal levels, which motivated instructors to adopt different active learning activities during the class time to better grasp students’ attention. In addition, many instructors allowed the recording of their synchronous lectures in case some students needed to refer back to the lecture content at their convenience. On the other hand, asynchronous instructions rely on completing instructional videos before class and focusing on discussions and activities during class. In recent years, the flipped classroom started to gain popularity among engineering faculty. Flipped classrooms allow students to go through the course contents at their own pace then share their opinions during discussions encouraging higher engagement and exposing gaps in understanding. Previous research suggests that student learning is improved in the flipped compared to the traditional classroom. To ensure that students complete the video lectures before the class, readiness assessment techniques, like quizzes, can be adopted. In a remote setup, the flipped approach seems to address the challenges faced by the synchronous model. However, this method adds an extra workload on the instructors. They have to pre-record and edit the video lectures, design quizzes to enforce understanding of the video materials, and design remote-friendly active learning activities for the class discussions. In this work, we study the perspective and experience of new faculty on the use of different approaches for online teaching. The study considers 12 different courses that were taught at the department hosting this study over the period from Spring 2020 to Summer 2020. Instructor surveys and interviews were conducted to quantify their motivation to pursue different remote teaching approaches, and these will be content-analyzed to determine the perspectives of the instructors to synchronous and asynchronous learning. Supported by students’ end-of-semester feedback, the authors would recommend practices to manage and lead both synchronous and asynchronous classrooms effectively.

Dallal, A., & Zaghloul, M. A. S., & Hassan, A. (2021, July), New Instructors Perspectives on Remote Teaching Methods Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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