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Online Automated Interactive Undergraduate Physics Course and Lab

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching and Research in Physics or Engineering Physics II

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1001.1 - 25.1001.8



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Paper Authors


Hatem M. Wasfy Advanced Science and Automation Corp.

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Hatem Wasfy is the President of Advanced Science and Automation Corp. (ASA), a company that specializes in the development of online virtual learning environments, and advanced engineering simulations. He has helped design several interactive learning environments that include a CNC machining course, a centrifugal pump maintenance course, an undergraduate physics course, and a welding course. He received a B.S. (1994) and an M.S. (1996) in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo. Wasfy’s research interests include advanced learning systems, cavitation modeling, computational fluid dynamics, internal combustion engine modeling and design, and AI rule-based expert systems.

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Tamer M. Wasfy Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Tamer Wasfy received a B.S. (1989) in mechanical engineering and an M.S. (1990) in materials engineering from the American University in Cairo, and an M.Phil. (1993) and Ph.D. (1994) in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. He worked as a research scientist at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University (1994-1995) and at the University of Virginia at NASA Langley Research Center (1995-1998). Wasfy is an Associate Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). Wasfy is also the Founder and Chairman of Advanced Science and Automation Corp. (founded in 1998) and AscienceTutor (founded in 2007). Wasfy's research and development areas include flexible multibody dynamics, finite element modeling of solids and fluids, fluid-structure interaction, belt-drive dynamics, tires mechanics/dynamics, ground vehicle dynamics, visualization of numerical simulation results, engineering applications of virtual-reality, and artificial intelligence. He authored and co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and gave more than 65 presentations at international conferences and invited lectures in those areas. He received two ASME best conference paper awards as first author. He is the software architect for the DIS, IVRESS, and LEA software systems, which are used by industry, government agencies, and academic institutions. Wasfy is a member of ASME, AIAA, SAE, and ASEE.

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Jeanne Peters Advanced Science and Automation Corp.

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Jeanne Peters received a B.A. in math/computer science from the College of William and Mary. She worked at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., for more than 20 years as a Senior Programmer/Analyst for George Washington University, University of Virginia, and Old Dominion University. She co-authored more than 70 journal and conference papers in the areas of computational mechanics, finite element method, shells/plates, composite material panels, and tires. She has also worked on numerous projects to create advanced engineering design and learning environments which include multimodal user interfaces for space systems. As Vice President of Information Technology, Peters Peters directs the development of advanced virtual reality applications, including scientific visualization applications and web-based multimedia education/training applications.

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Riham M. Mahfouz Thomas Nelson Community College

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Riham Mahfouz is the Department Head of the Chemistry Department at the Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), where she teaches and serves as course coordinator for the following courses: preparatory chemistry, organic chemistry, and online college chemistry. Mahfouz has extensive training and experience in developing online courses. She has developed online college chemistry courses using the ASSURE Model of instructional design and the standards created by the Quality Matters faculty-centered peer review process for certifying the quality of online courses.

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Online Automated Interactive Undergraduate Physics Course and LabOnline courses are steadily gaining favor worldwide and in the US with almost one third of UShigher education students taking at least one online course per year. The growth rate for onlineenrollment at 21% is more than 10 times the growth rate for overall higher education enrollment.This indicates that in one or two decades online education will become the dominant form bywhich students receive instruction in higher learning institutions. Many institutions have adoptedonline education simply as a means to control the costs that are associated with a physicalclassroom space, and printed textbooks, and to offer more convenient learning for their students.This has led to online courses that share some of the same problems as their traditionalcounterparts. These problems include the lack of individualized one-on-one instruction, aninstruction delivery pace that is too slow for the brightest students and too fast for below averagestudents, a high level of variability in course content between different instructors, andinstructors with poor teaching competency.By fully automating all aspects of the learning experience for online courses, a much largerreduction of education costs can be achieved, while simultaneously improving studentperformance as compared to human delivered online or traditional lectures. Recent research hasshown that a well designed automated online course can improve average student performanceover a lecture setting by more than half a letter grade. The main elements of an effective fullyautomated online course or lab are: a robust learning management system, fully automatedcontent delivery using text-to-speech technology, highly visual course presentation usinganimated 2D and 3D illustrations that are synchronized with the course delivery, interactive 2Dand 3D activities with single or multi participant formats, and automated student assessments.Students interact with the automated course in a multimodal manner by manipulating objects ontheir screens using a pointing device, or by typing, or speaking their responses. A two semesterundergraduate physics course that uses these elements to deliver a fully automated learningexperience will be presented in this paper. The course drastically decreases the cost of learning,while improving accessibility, quality, and uniformity of instruction. The course has a virtualreality physics lab with physics-based modeling of the relevant underlying principles and avariety of interactive physics experiments.

Wasfy, H. M., & Wasfy, T. M., & Peters, J., & Mahfouz, R. M. (2012, June), Online Automated Interactive Undergraduate Physics Course and Lab Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21758

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