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Online Assessments In An Introduction To Digital Systems Course

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ECE Online Courses, Labs, and Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.898.1 - 8.898.8



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Blauch

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

Session 2432

Online Assessments in an Introduction to Digital Systems Course

Andrew J. Blauch Padnos School of Engineering Grand Valley State University


This paper describes the use of online assessments in an Introduction to Digital Systems course at Grand Valley State University. Many engineering courses are incorporating Internet usage and online instructional material into their activities. Some schools now offer entire engineering courses online. Part of the move to Internet supported courses is the use of online assessments. Online assessments are popular due to their availability, flexibility, and automatic grading capabilities. The typical engineering problem, however, does not lend itself well to the online assessment format. This paper will present some online assessments that were developed for the Introduction to Digital Systems course offered at Grand Valley State University. The rationale behind the chosen online assessment format, implementation, and problems will be discussed. An evaluation of the effectiveness of the online assessments will also be presented.


The evolution of e-Learning has made the Internet a very attractive media in which to expand upon the traditional classroom environment1 . Many engineering courses are taking advantage of the Internet and incorporating part or all of their instructional material online. Online course structures range from the very basic HTML web pages to full online classrooms2 . New software is constantly being developed for administering specific course material on the web3 .

Much of the e-Learning emphasis has been on how to effectively administer the course material online so that the students are actively engaged. For students to learn the material in an efficient manner requires lots of practice with timely feedback, especially in engineering and science courses. The traditional written homework assignments typically suffer in both quantity and timely feedback. Because the problems must be graded by hand, there can be a significant time delay between when the student solves the problem and when they receive feedback on their performance. Assigning a lot of problems for practice simply increases the feedback delay. Assigning fewer problems can help shorten the feedback time but results in less practice for the student. An alternative to this type of assignment is needed, one that encourages interaction and fosters learning4 .

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Blauch, A. (2003, June), Online Assessments In An Introduction To Digital Systems Course Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12252

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