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The Converged Classroom: A Follow-up Study

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Works in Progress: Classroom Practice

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Bill D. Bailey Kennesaw State University

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Dr. Bill Bailey is currently an assistant professor of industrial engineering technology and quality assurance and coordinator of the EIT graduate programs at Kennesaw State University He holds a Ph.D. in Technology Management (Quality Systems Specialization) from Indiana State University. He also holds a Master of Science in Industrial Technology degree from North Carolina A&T State University, and a Baccalaureate degree in Psychology and English.
Dr. Bailey has extensive manufacturing experience, including lean implementation and training and development. He has developed programs and taught in a community college for several years. He has served as an examiner for several Baldrige based quality award processes, including The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and state awards in North Carolina and Georgia. His research and consulting interests include the improvement of organizational performance through quality initiatives such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Process, Six Sigma, Lean, etc., and the application of these initiatives to education, manufacturing, services and healthcare.

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Gregory L. Wiles P.E. Kennesaw State University

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An Interim Chair and Assistant Professor of Systems and Industrial Engineering at Kennesaw State University, a four-year comprehensive 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 a PhD in Information Systems Management. 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 Kennesaw State University

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Thomas R. Ball joined Kennesaw State University’s Industrial Engineering Technology Department in 2004 and currently serves as Associate Dean for the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. 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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The Converged Classroom: A Follow Up Study This is an Evidence-Based Practice paper. There has been much discussion in recent years about the quality of online course offerings versus traditional face to face. We have developed delivery system that we believe eliminates much of the difference and consequently the cause for disagreement. We call these offerings “converged” courses. The Initial Study: Before 2009, all of the major courses in our Industrial Engineering Technology program were offered in a traditional face to face format. That year, we began to offer Hybrid course delivery. In the traditional format, classes met twice a week for a total of 150 minutes. Hybrid courses meet once a week for 75 minutes with an additional 75 minutes of instruction online in the form of prerecorded lectures and exercises. We also began to offer online courses using the same hybrid structure, but the weekly 75 minute class meeting was done using our course management system, and a live synchronous class meeting. The final step to “converged” courses was to combine the traditional and online course meetings. This effort began in 2011. Initially, there was some performance difference between the traditional and online students. This was later attributed to a faculty learning curve with online delivery. By 2012, there appeared to be little difference in student performance between the delivery methods. This was documented in a paper and presentation at the 2013 ASEE National Conference. Student Benefits • Increased flexibility • Students can self select the delivery method that fits them best. • Recorded learning materials and archives of live sessions can be reviewed as needed. • Classroom students can, when necessary attend a class online. • Interaction with faculty and peers for online students. • Significant changes in life circumstances do not have to interrupt education. Institutional Benefits Combining traditional and online sections results in larger more viable class sizes, lessening the chance of course cancellations. • Consistency in content delivery between traditional and online offerings. • Better utilization of faculty workload. • Better utilization of classroom space. In the original study, which was done soon after full implementation, the primary measure was success. Success was defined as the percentage of students earning a C or better in a course. The Follow Up Study: The follow up study will extend that analysis by three full years. We now have data from over 250 course offerings for comparisons. The paper will examine other, more granular indicators such as grade point averages, grade distribution, grade variance, and end of course evaluations to compare online and on campus students. We will also examine long term trends in graduation and retention and possible effects of this approach. This will provide a richer body of knowledge for the converged classroom approach.

Bailey, B. D., & Wiles, G. L., & Ball, T. R. (2016, June), The Converged Classroom: A Follow-up Study Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26112

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