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Supporting Service Member Transition into Academia: MOOCs on Engineering Fundamentals

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Division Technical Session 1: Academic Transition

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

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Paper Authors


Aldo A. Ferri Georgia Institute of Technology

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Al Ferri received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1981 and his PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 1985. Since 1985, he has been a faculty member in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, where he now serves as Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies. His research areas are in the fields of dynamics, controls, vibrations, and acoustics. He is also active in course and curriculum development. He is a Fellow of the ASME.

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Wayne E. Whiteman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Wayne E. Whiteman is a Principal Academic Professional and Director of the Office of Student Services in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his BS degree from the United States Military Academy in 1979, a master’s degree from MIT in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1996. Whiteman is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army and completed 24 years of active military service. He served on the West Point faculty from 1987 to 1990, and 1998 to 2003. He has been at Georgia Tech since 2003.

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are classes with open access to any individuals through the world-wide web. The term MOOC first appeared in the late 2000s. This large, unlimited participation in online courses became a popular educational delivery method in the early 2010s. The authors believe these learning materials have a place in education and are quite revolutionary. But the authors don’t think MOOCs will replace the richness of the educational learning environment that student receive in an on-campus experience. The lead author, xxxx xxxx, currently offers eight MOOC courses on the Coursera platform. They are offerings in the fundamental engineering topics of Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials. The first course went live online in February of 2013. MOOCs provide access to quality learning material to large numbers of individuals who may not otherwise have the resources to receive this level of education. They also provide a valuable resource to individuals transitioning into the academic environment, such as high schoolers or military service members who are completing their time in service and want to attend higher level education institutions. The eight engineering MOOCs addressed in this paper are excellent preparation for future students in many engineering disciplines such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, material engineering, and others. This paper provides details on the MOOC course format. Statistics on course enrollments are included. Student demographics, such as age, gender, and educational background are provided. The country of origin for students and the percent participation for these countries are given. Survey feedback results offer insights into many of the issues associated with this type of distance learning. Assessment tools are discussed. And finally, the authors’ thoughts for the future with regard to massive open online courses are provided.

Ferri, A. A., & Whiteman, W. E. (2018, June), Supporting Service Member Transition into Academia: MOOCs on Engineering Fundamentals Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31035

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