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The Effect Of Incorporating Verbal Stimuli In The Online Education Environment: An Online Case Study

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1278.1 - 11.1278.14



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Paper Authors

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Alice Squires Stevens Institute of Technology

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Mike Pennotti Stevens Institute of Technology

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Dinesh Verma Stevens Institute of Technology

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Effect of Incorporating Verbal Stimuli in the Online Education Environment: An Online Case Study


In 2005, Stevens Institute of Technology’s System Design and Operational Effectiveness (SDOE) Program added audio lectures to their online Fundamentals of Systems Engineering course. This paper compares results from four instantiations of this online course with no audio lectures delivered in 2004 to results from three instantiations of the same online course with audio lectures delivered in 2005. The analysis addresses differences in student participation and performance, team project quality, and student survey scores between the two types of course offerings. The objective of this analysis is to better understand the contribution of audio lectures to the learning process.

1. Overview

In converting classroom-based instruction to online instruction, it is natural to try to mimic, where possible, the classroom environment. With this strategy, however, online learning is subjected to the constraints of a live classroom, without being able to leverage the advantages of the new medium. We believe the online education environment has far greater potential than the traditional classroom environment for effectively incorporating auditory, visual, and kinesthetic stimuli that address the various developed models of learning while remaining asynchronous in format. The first step toward this end is to develop a framework for online learning that can be used anywhere, at any time. We have previously defined this framework and have shown that we can provide equivalent learning with comparable student feedback and a manageable instructor course load in an asynchronous online version of our graduate course – Fundamentals of Systems Engineering. 1 This is a core course in the Masters of Systems Engineering degree offered at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

The next step is to provide a balance of auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning experiences in the online environment. The original online course was comprised of classroom presentations organized into weekly lecture notes, supplemental papers, a series of team assignments that culminated in a team project, and weekly online discussions. The weekly lecture notes were adopted from the presentation slides used in traditional classroom lectures and provided as softcopy presentations annotated with notes in key areas. During the course, the teams go offline to discuss the course content and work on their team project, with team assignments due each week. The instructor proactively participates in the course, engages the students in weekly discussions, answers any questions on the course material, and otherwise acts as a facilitator of the course. The instructor communicates with the students asynchronously through online discussion groups and classroom mail. While the students may communicate offline in various formats, the online course itself was devoid of verbal stimuli.

Squires, A., & Pennotti, M., & Verma, D. (2006, June), The Effect Of Incorporating Verbal Stimuli In The Online Education Environment: An Online Case Study Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1306

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