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Teaching in a COVID-19 Disrupted Semester

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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

Computers in Education 7 - Modulus 2

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Anu Aggarwal University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

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Anu Aggarwal is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She secured her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland College Park under the supervision of Prof Robert W Newcomb in the area of Neuromorphic VLSI design and Computational Neuroscience. She received her Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Manchester UK.

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Covid – 19 has radically changed how group activities are carried out across the world especially in countries with higher incidence of the disease, like the US. An activity of concern to the educators is face-to-face teaching in classroom, in-lab work, in-person office hours, in-class exams and group-based project activities. The Covid-19 epidemic required most educators to move all these activities online. Given that the flipped and online classes are a common practice in this era of internet technology, there was no dearth of resources. The resources to deliver lectures included blackboard, zoom, or skype. For labs, some of the options were no labs, or remote lab access with VPN after porting labs from hardware to software or providing hardware kits to students for remote lab work. Office hours could be offered either via skype, blackboard or zoom. Exams could be given either over zoom, skype, prairie learn, gradescope, blackboard or ProctorU. Exam format could be open book, take home, multiple choice or essay type questions. Exam submission could be scanning in either hand-written or typed document. Disruption due to COVID-19 pandemic happened in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester. For the courses that were being offered in traditional face-to-face mode, the challenge was to select the best possible method of course delivery with least effort, inconvenience and time spent on training course staff, and students. This paper reviews the online teaching methods that were available at our university. It provides justification for using the chosen online platforms over others for delivering the course- Introduction to VLSI Design. Online teaching was found to be more effective over face-to-face based on comparison of student grades and course evaluations. The paper identifies the problems encountered during online teaching and the steps taken to mitigate them. Further, we highlight how the lessons learnt during the Spring 2020 semester were used to improve teaching methodology during the Fall 2020 semester.

Aggarwal, A. (2021, July), Teaching in a COVID-19 Disrupted Semester Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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