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On Line Manufacturing Engineering Technology Courses: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Technology Integration in the Classroom

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.926.1 - 14.926.12



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Paper Authors

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Ann Goebel Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Harry Petersen Minnesota State University, Mankato


William Peterson Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Dr. Bill Peterson is currently an associate professor and chair of the Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He holds a BIE from Auburn University. He spent twenty years in industry prior during which time he earned an MBA and managed engineering, manufacturing, and plants in a wide variety of industries. He has spent the last 16 teaching industrial and manufacturing engineering, engineering management, and the management of technology. He is current program chair of the IE Division of ASEE and a director in two other divisions. He is past president of SEMS and ASEM.

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

Online Engineering Technology Courses – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


There has been increasing interest in developing web-based engineering and engineering technology courses and in converting traditional face-to-face college classes into online courses. The Manufacturing Engineering Technology BS Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, strategically developed all core senior-level courses into a multi media infused online delivery mode over the past few years with flexible Face-2-Face labs or capstone course projects. With the assistance of state grant funding, this strategy was based on our industries’ call to retain students for a greater term for internship experiences and to benefit the student’s career competitiveness while still providing equal or superior learning in the engineering management based core courses of the program. The program is now debating whether to continue this form of delivery, add more online classes, or to return some or all of the classes to traditional face-to- face campus lectures and laboratories. Highlights include where expectations were exceeded, met, or fell short in online conversion from Face-2-Face traditional delivery and succession planning for new faculty or content driven changes.

In the process, we have developed a number of considerations and questions to help engineering and engineering technology programs decide whether a given class is a good candidate for online web-based delivery. We have also found that there are a number of factors, problems, and costs, often hidden, which must be considered when developing or converting online classes. This paper will present the questions and considerations which we are using to determine the value of placing each course online, and will discuss the advantages, factors, costs, and problems involved with implementing these online courses, based on our research and experience. Also included are twelve learned Best Practices for asynchronous online and a “Take Home Strategic Online Planning Sketch” to help foster other online learning models. Student learner feedback also included.

The Good:

“It is not necessary to change, survival is not mandatory” W. Edwards Deming. It was in 2004 where the spirit of this quote coupled with broad university strategic support for innovative online course and program course conversion, that the department began the journey to meet the call for competitive change. With the Higher Learning Commission’s recent awarded accreditation approval for Minnesota State University, Mankato, to begin delivering online courses and programs, the Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) program of the Automotive and Manufacturing Department was in a good position to pursue attractive funding mechanisms. This was matched with a willing faculty and a department strategy to meet a need for more flexible delivery modes while maintaining effective pedagogue. Data from an earlier 1999 Noel- Levitz marketing study for the state university system documented student demand for technology and scheduling flexibility that teaching with technology allows including1:

Goebel, A., & Petersen, H., & Peterson, W. (2009, June), On Line Manufacturing Engineering Technology Courses: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5075

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