Asee peer logo

Simple Exercises to Provide Continuity and Consistency in the Classroom Amidst Uncertain or Shifting Delivery Modes

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Experiences: Teaching in a Pandemic

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Abigail E. Heinz Rowan University

visit author page

Abigail Heinz is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at Rowan University.

visit author page


Matthew Strauss

visit author page

I am a recent graduate from Rowan University with a degree in Entrepreneurship Engineering, with a focus on mechanical engineering.

visit author page


Kaitlin Mallouk Rowan University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Kaitlin Mallouk is an Assistant Professor of Experiential Engineering Education at Rowan University. Prior to beginning that role, she spent five years an Instructor in the Mechanical Engineering and Experiential Engineering Education Departments at Rowan. Kaitlin has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.

visit author page


Mary Staehle Rowan University

visit author page

Dr. Mary Staehle is an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Rowan University. Before joining the faculty at Rowan, Dr. Staehle worked at the Daniel Baugh Institute for Functional Genomics and Computational Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. Her research is in the area of biomedical control systems, specifically neural regeneration and neurodevelopmental toxicity. Dr. Staehle is also particularly interested in biomedical engineering education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The landscape of higher education has always been changing, but never as fast as it has in the past year. Constant transitions between modes of material delivery have been a blow to student engagement, comprehension, and classroom relationships. Introducing a simple exercise in each class, such as having each student answer questions about themselves in front of the whole class or within breakout rooms, has proven to maintain student attendance and engagement despite changes in delivery method of instruction.

These practices were tested and proven to be advantageous to the classroom culture during the Spring and Fall 2020 semesters within two different introductory courses with two different instructors. During this time period, there were several shifts between traditional in-person instruction and synchronous virtual instruction. One cohort (Cohort A) answered prompts in front of the entire class and were surveyed comprehensively in the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. These students started the course fully in-person, and shifted to synchronous virtual instruction shortly after the mid-semester survey. The other cohort (Cohort B) started the course with synchronous virtual instruction with plans for partial in-person instruction. Cohort B students completed a one-question daily questionnaire and were placed into breakout rooms to answer prompts in a similar manner to Cohort A’s classwide activity. These students were surveyed several times during the semester to gauge student engagement and classroom relationships.

Students in Cohort A had statistically significant improvements in the number of other students they felt comfortable working with during the primarily online portion of the course and also provided qualitative feedback that this activity facilitated the transition effectively. Similarly, students in Cohort B completed the evidence-based Feedback Tool from CampusLabs and reported that the instructor displayed a personal interest in their learning a remarkable 93% of the time on a scale of Not At All (0%) to Completely (100%).

Importantly, these activities took just a fraction of class time in either delivery modality while maintaining class attendance and student-reported metrics of cooperative learning across modalities. Regardless of delivery, these activities were able to maintain or produce better connections between students as well as between students and faculty. Furthermore, they served to bridge transitions and maintain “normalcy” in the face of changing modalities and abrupt disruptions. The complete paper will provide a more comprehensive analysis of student responses and classroom data to support these conclusions.

Heinz, A. E., & Strauss, M., & Mallouk, K., & Staehle, M. (2021, July), Simple Exercises to Provide Continuity and Consistency in the Classroom Amidst Uncertain or Shifting Delivery Modes Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015