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Student Engagement Online – Does Gender Make a Difference? A Pilot Study in One Engineering and Technology Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Distance Learning in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1112.1 - 24.1112.10



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Paper Authors

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Angela D Hutson-Stone Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis


Julie M. Little-Wiles Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Dr. J. M. Little-Wiles is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Technology Leadership and Communication in the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where she teaches courses in Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theory, Ethics, Technical Writing and International Management. Prior to her appointment at IUPUI after receiving her PhD from Purdue University in 2012, she worked in manufacturing for almost 17 years including 15 years spent with Chrysler Corporation in Manufacturing Engineering. Her research interests include leadership in multiple environments including in the STEM fields and higher education with particular interest to females and minorities; and online teaching and learning. She is active in ASEE as she is a current officer for the Women's Division (WIED) and also participates with reviewing papers for several other divisions annually. (e-mail:

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Eugenia Fernandez Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Eugenia Fernandez is an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Technology and Chair of the Department of Computer Information and Graphics Technology in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. She is a Fellow of the Mack Center at Indiana University for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning and an Editor of the Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her research focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning related to learning with technology.

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Patricia Fox Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Patricia Fox is the Associate Chair of the Technology Leadership and Communication Department at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. Pat teaches leadership, ethics, and sustainability courses. She has been very active in ASEE for a number of years, which included three terms on the ASEE Board of Directors. Pat is an ASEE Fellow.

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Student Engagement Online – Does gender make a difference? A Pilot Study in One Engineering and Technology CourseOnline learning continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and universities are not exempt from thisdigital explosion. In response to the advanced technology, students are now being offeredalternative means of educational delivery formats including hybrid or entirely online classes(courses delivered via the internet) within major engineering and technology schools. Aseducators, we have learned that tools such as chat rooms, email messages, and discussion forumsenhance the online learning experience and provide a more “connected” environment forstudents in online courses. In order to deliver quality education and offer students theopportunity to be successful within this growing environment, educational institutions need tonot only understand their students, but also their learning and engagement styles. An item thatmay play a critical role in online student engagement may be gender itself. Gender is frequentlymentioned within online learning, but research and data are limited for this area (Santovec, 2002;Waldeck, Kearney, & Plax, 2001; Yu, Kim, & Roh, 2001). This research will identify if genderneeds to be addressed in the delivery of online education to help students be more successfulwithin these types of courses.With previous studies lacking significant evidence in the area, researchers were anxious toexplore student engagement by gender in a pilot study of one sophomore-more level, ethicaldecision making course in the School of Engineering and Technology at ____________. The pilot featured twoonline sections of the course taught by different instructors with various instructional strategiesemployed. Both of the sections were held entirely online within the school’s learningmanagement system (LMS) and shared the same course textbook, major assignments and bi-weekly synchronous chats held within the LMS environment. All site statistics were collected bythe main PI within the LMS and coded for further statistical analysis by the research team. Thedata collected from the LMS included total site activity/usage, total site visits, chat room activity,message activity (email within the LMS), and actual course grade by scale and by percentagesfor each student.This study reveals if females and males use the same or different patterns and tools, and whattypes of interaction within the online system each utilized. Additionally, the final statisticalresults demonstrated how the log-in rate (termed, site visits) as well as other factors within theLMS differed between the sexes, and how this impacted final grades in the course for each.

Hutson-Stone, A. D., & Little-Wiles, J. M., & Fernandez, E., & Fox, P. (2014, June), Student Engagement Online – Does Gender Make a Difference? A Pilot Study in One Engineering and Technology Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23045

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