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Outcome, Economic and Operational Benefits of Hybrid Courses - A Public Research University Perspective

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Delivery Methods in Mechanical Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.951.1 - 23.951.20



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Paper Authors


David J. Dimas The University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Dimas has over 25 years of experience which centers on consulting in simulation and design and developing and teaching a curriculum of related engineering analysis and product development courses in both commercial and academic settings. He served in a number of top-level management positions at both PDA Engineering and MSC Software including director of training services, customer support, educational sales and product documentation in the computer aided engineering (CAE) market space. At MSC Software he pioneered new techniques and guided the development of two highly successful interactive DVD based courses in the application of finite element analysis (FEA) in product development. He also developed a unique, low-cost, flexible method to produce and maintain DVD versions of a curriculum of 15 courses related to CAE. Both provided increased knowledge access, transfer and retention. His industrial background also focused on applying theoretical aspects of numerical methods in simulation and design to wide variety of product development issues. He has served on the faculty at UC Irvine since 1986 and has brought these practical applications into the classroom, providing students with significant improvements in their ability to learn the theory and "art" of engineering simulation and design. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering all from UC Irvine.

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Faryar Jabbari University of California, Irvine


Jia Frydenberg University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Frydenberg is the Emeritus Associate Dean of Distance Learning at the University of California, Irvine.

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Outcome, Economic and Operational Benefits of Hybrid Courses - A Public Research University PerspectiveThis paper describes an experiment at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) that uses acombination of technology and pedagogical approaches to improve learning outcomes forengineering students while reducing course delivery costs. Like most public researchuniversities, UCI faces the challenge of improving learning outcomes in the face of decliningState and Federal funding. This challenge has many elements. 1) As class sizes increase, classenrollments often exceed classroom capacities. 2) A lack of immediate feedback on studentlearning hinders timely interventions that would otherwise help students succeed. 3) Operationof classes is burdened by administrative details that ineffectively absorb a large percentage of theavailable Faculty and Teaching Assistant resources. 4) Class time spent on course topics is oftennot proportional to the level of difficulty of the material. 5) Students have little control over thepace of learning. 6) Research-oriented faculty do not have the time or motivation required toinvestigate and adopt new learning technologies and methods. 7) Faculty frequently distrustunproven or unfamiliar technologies or teaching methods. To address these issues, three coursesin the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCI were modified to includethe expanded use of instructional technologies and new pedagogical practices. This included theexpanded use of asynchronous online content such as video lectures, prompted and gradeddiscussion forums, frequent quizzes and “just-in-time” reference materials and links. A keycomponent was the use of an assessment tool aimed at "real time" feedback. These tools allowedboth students and instructors to measure the learning achievements in the previous week of thecourse and then modify the subsequent week’s lectures accordingly. The courses varied in size(between 50 and 320), content area (statics, dynamics and finite element analysis) and level(sophomore, junior and senior.) Courses where monitored over a 2 year period during which thethree faculty involved met frequently with each other and with the supporting instructionaldesign and distance learning delivery teams. The results show measurable improvements instudent satisfaction, course outcomes, and operational efficiency while defining clear andconvincing paths to motivate additional faculty to adopt all or some of pedagogy and onlinelearning modalities.

Dimas, D. J., & Jabbari, F., & Frydenberg, J. (2013, June), Outcome, Economic and Operational Benefits of Hybrid Courses - A Public Research University Perspective Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22336

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