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On the Effectiveness of Teaching Optics as a Webinar

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1198.1 - 26.1198.5



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Paper Authors


David K. Probst P.E. Southeast Missouri State University

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David Probst is Professor and Chair of the Physics and Engineering Physics Department at Southeast Missouri State University. Prior to joining Southeast, he was with McDonnell Douglas Corporation (now the Boeing Company) in St. Louis, MO.

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On the effectiveness of teaching Optics as a webinarIn response to a move by the State to encourage smaller, more costly programs to explorepotential efficiencies due to the improved technology available for distance learning, the Physicsdepartments across the state formed a collaboration in which we could share responsibilities forcourse delivery across institutions. The idea was that it would be more efficient to have oneinstructor teach a course to several small classes at multiple institutions, rather than have severalinstructors teaching the same course to small classes at multiple institutions. No money changedhands between the participating institutions; students paid their tuition locally for the course.Though skeptical, the department chairs across the state agreed to a plan that would begin withteaching an elective course to test the effectiveness of the webinar delivery method. If thewebinar delivery format was deemed to provide a reasonably effective learning experience forstudents, we would then move on to a course that was required in some programs and elective inothers. Finally, we would deliver a course that was required in all Physics programs, such asMechanics.Optics is a course that is not required in all Physics programs. The course has now been taughttwice using the webinar format to students at three institutions simultaneously. Students werepolled both times to obtain feedback on their learning experience compared to a traditionalclassroom delivery. This paper reports on the advantages and disadvantages of the webinardelivery method as revealed by these surveys. It also discusses how this collaboration hasincreased access to elective courses for students across the state as a result of the collaboration.

Probst, D. K. (2015, June), On the Effectiveness of Teaching Optics as a Webinar Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24535

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