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Paper: Transition of Instructional Methods from an In-Person to Online Course and the Lessons Learned

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2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption"



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April 23, 2021

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April 23, 2021

End Date

April 25, 2021

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Jenna Wong P.E. San Francisco State University

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Dr. Wong is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University with focus on resilience/sustainability, high performance structures, and engineering education. Her doctorate research at UC Berkeley investigated the applicability of seismic isolation and supplemental viscous damping to nuclear power plants with focus on seismic resilience and safety. The work identified isolation parameters for the optimization of design to produce high performance levels of both structural response and secondary systems. After receiving her PhD, Dr. Wong began a post-doctoral fellowship at Lawrence National Laboratory developing a modern computational framework for the nonlinear seismic analysis of Department of Energy nuclear facilities and systems. This work seeks to expand the understanding of soil structure interaction for these structures and the means of modeling this behavior both theoretically and experimentally. In addition to her research experience, Dr. Wong also has worked for the public and private engineering sectors in the areas of water infrastructure, transportation, data systems, and project management. She joined San Francisco State University in 2014 as a lecturer and is currently an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Engineering. Beyond her technical research, Dr. Wong likes to research the ways in which technology such as 3D printing and virtual reality can enhance the learning experience and bring abstract topics to life. She is a member of ASCE, EERI, SEAONC, CAIES, and SWE.

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At San Francisco State University, the switch to online courses was undertaken in a rapid one-week period during the Spring 2020 semester. The successful transition varied significantly depending on the instructor and course. For Engineering Statics, a core prerequisite for Civil and Mechanical Engineering students, the switch presented a significant challenge to ensure quality learning and effective assessment. The failure of students to properly develop fundamental skills and knowledge from this course can lead to a domino effect impacting the rest of their academic progress. This paper is a case study evaluating the in-person instructional methods that translated effectively to the online course and discusses new methods that were rapidly developed and deployed to maintain student learning effectiveness. These results provide insight into the question of, which instructional methods can be adapted for both in-person and online courses? The methods discussed herein include synchronous/asynchronous lectures, use of music, group work, and approaches to note taking (e.g. applications, color-coding), homework, and exams (e.g. problem randomization and timed windows). All techniques transferred extremely well based on student feedback except for group work which lacked sufficient student engagement. Exams and group work required additional attention and effort to ensure the same level of effectiveness. The majority of instructional methods were able to transcend the in-person course setting which is a significant factor as instructors look to continue online courses as well as transition back to in-person courses in the future.

Wong, J. (2021, April), Paper: Transition of Instructional Methods from an In-Person to Online Course and the Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference - "Pushing Past Pandemic Pedagogy: Learning from Disruption", Virtual. 10.18260/1-2--38244

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