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Online delivery of engineering courses where hand calculations are vital

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ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference


Waco, Texas

Publication Date

March 24, 2021

Start Date

March 24, 2021

End Date

March 26, 2021

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Paper Authors


Dani Fadda P.E. University of Texas at Dallas

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Dr. Fadda is Associate Professor of Practice in Mechanical Engineering. His background includes two decades of professional engineering practice in the energy industry where he has held numerous positions. Dr. Fadda has worked in product research and developed patented products for chemical, petrochemical, and nuclear applications. He is involved with professional organizations and was named the 2016 ASME North Texas Engineer of the Year.

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Learning outcomes of engineering classes often require students to be able to perform engineering calculations by hand, using a pencil and paper or a digital pad. The authors of this paper are faculty members who are experienced in teaching engineering courses, with vital hand calculations, in the traditional in-person format. They transitioned to offer their classes virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two authors individually adopted two online delivery approaches: one of them adopted a synchronous mode, where lectures are streamed live using a video conferencing interface. The other adopted asynchronous delivery where lectures are recorded and posted in learning modules for viewing and discussion. The purpose of this paper is to describe initial results from examining the performance of the students learning virtually during the pandemic versus the performance of those learning in-person before the pandemic. The study is specific to courses that integrally require calculations using a pen and paper or a digital pad. Results of the student’s work on the exams indicate that online delivery is effective in meeting the required student-learning outcomes. Specifically, the student’s ability to summarize problem statements, solve the problems, and achieve valid conclusions are evaluated. The performance during semesters where courses were taught in the traditional format are comparable to those with the online format. Feedback from the students is also presented from the course evaluations. Results and comments are compared between previous semesters where in-person instruction was offered and the recent semesters where online classes are offered.

Fadda, D., & THAMBAN, P. (2021, March), Online delivery of engineering courses where hand calculations are vital Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas.

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