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The Converged Classroom

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Improving course effectiveness

Tagged Divisions

Engineering Management, Engineering Economy, and Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1176.1 - 23.1176.10



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Paper Authors


Gregory L. Wiles P.E. Southern Polytechnic State University

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An assistant professor of industrial engineering technology at Southern Polytechnic State University, a four-year technical university in Georgia. He has a BS degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Tennessee, an MS degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and currently working on his PhD. Prior to teaching, he worked for Lockheed Martin, Union Carbide, nVision Global, Oracle, and Georgia Tech in various engineering roles from research, to technical sales, to division management.

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Thomas Reid Ball Southern Polytechnic State University (ENG)

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Thomas R. Ball joined Southern Polytechnic State University’s Industrial Engineering Technology Department in 2004 and currently serves as the Department Chair. Before joining SPSU, Professor Ball held senior-level management positions throughout much of his 30-year career in manufacturing, operations and distribution. He has served as chair of the American Apparel Manufacturers Association’s Apparel Research Committee, and is a member of the Southern Chapter of the International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives. Professor Ball also holds the position of W. Clair Harris Endowed Chair. His academic background includes an Associate of Science degree from Southern Polytechnic, BA from Oglethorpe University and an MBA from Georgia State University.

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Title: The Converged Classroom The growing need to work smarter teaching classes and to utilize classroom space moreefficiently gives way to rethinking how classrooms should be structured to accommodate today’sstudents. One engineering department at a 4-year technology-based university stepped up to thechallenge of providing a converged online and face-to-face interactive learning environment.This new environment was developed over a period of 2 years evolving from a traditional face-to-face classroom into hybrid and online environments. The need to evolve resulted fromchanges in the type of students enrolling in the classrooms. The growing need to accommodatenon-traditional students who have full-time jobs, perhaps older than your traditional collegestudent, with a family spawned the need to make changes. The evolution of today’s classroom is nothing new; many other colleges are goingthrough similar growing pains. The uniqueness of this converged learning environment is theability to offer multiple delivery modalities as one classroom. Students have a choice ofattending as a distance learner (online), or as a hybrid learner (combination of face-to-face andonline). The virtual attendee and the physical attendee become one in the same with the abilityto switch freely from week to week. Converged classrooms are conducted by the faculty withtwo live sets of students, the virtual online and the physical face-to-face. This unified yetflexible environment goes beyond the need to accommodate job and family commitments; it alsoserves to provide consistent course content, to promote more student interaction, and supportstheir varied learning styles. Benefits to the school are better utilization of space, increasedenrollment, better utilization of faculty, and promotes student retention. This engineeringdepartment continues to improve this environment with a more efficient use of learningmanagement technology and working with the school administration to make adaptations in theareas of course registration, tuition costs, and information technology.

Wiles, G. L., & Ball, T. R. (2013, June), The Converged Classroom Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22561

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