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Strategic Use Of Manhattan: An Internet Communication Tool Used With A Freshmen Engineering Design Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1021.1 - 7.1021.12



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Paper Authors

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Steven Schreiner

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Session 2793

Strategic use of Manhattan: An Internet communication tool used with a freshmen engineering design course

Steven Schreiner, Thomas Keyser, Ronald Musiak, Richard Mindek, Mary Vollaro Western New England College, Springfield Massachusetts


Internet communication tools augment many engineering curricula. We have strategically implemented Manhattan Virtual Classroom, an Internet communication tool developed at our College, for a freshmen introduction to engineering design course taught by five professors. Even though this is a hands-on course that demands face-to-face communication between constituents, we have effectively incorporated this internet-based tool and made it an integral part of the course. This software has benefited our students and professors and is now freely available to colleges and universities that would also benefit from its use with a variety of courses.

Manhattan Virtual Classroom is a versatile tool that allows user-defined levels of communication from simple e-mail to full online courses with little training required for instructors and users. The software has specific modules that enable various types of synchronous and asynchronous communication between professor and student, between students, between student teams, and between instructors. Each instructor is able to easily design the communication interface for their particular section, fitting their own teaching style and allowing greater buy-in and usage by both instructor and students.

The course evaluation included an opinion survey of the students’ reaction to the online components and an investigation of server statistics. These data show that Manhattan: aided student learning; increased professor to student communication, facilitated grading and returning of computer-based student work, aided freshmen academic advising, and improved coordination of the course between professors. Somewhat surprisingly, the students did not utilize the peer-to- peer communication tools (available to individuals and teams) to the level expected. Overall, we have successfully balanced the integration of on-line communication into a course with hands- on, problem-based learning that demands face-to-face contact between professor and student.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Schreiner, S. (2002, June), Strategic Use Of Manhattan: An Internet Communication Tool Used With A Freshmen Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10496

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